Lawmakers look the other way when it comes to doubled home insurance costs
Texas has the highest home insurance premiums in the nation.
Five years ago Gov. Rick Perry, then Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Commissioner Jose Montemayor, and legislators looked the other way as lax insurance legislation permitted the industry to double overnight the premiums paid by Texas homeowners.
Bear in mind that Gov. Perry will have a tough battle for reelection in 2010 from fellow Republican, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Texans now have some "clout" to demand the governor do something before the election. Texas homeowners should NOT miss this opportunity.
In years previous to 2004, the insurance industry had been experiencing a hard market and was losing revenue. We were told by the insurance industry that it was due to excessive claims caused by storms, winds, flooding, hail, and mold. The industry collectively had called upon the state informally to help with correcting the market, but few lawmakers listened to its pleas.
As in several previous years of hard markets, the insurance industry elected to act independently on the problem without waiting any longer for government interaction on its behalf. Virtually overnight, it then over-corrected the market by doubling home insurance premiums.
In some instances, the industry decreased the coverage and still increased the premiums significantly.
The reaction of homeowners was disbelief and then anger. They contacted the offices of the governor, TDI, and various legislators. They were told publicly by Gov. Perry and Comm. Montemayor that by the next year, the insurance industry would refund up to 14 percent of the increased premiums. To date, that has never occurred. Homeowners must have forgotten the promises made by Perry and Montemayor.
So, now it's been 5 years of insurance over-compensation and profiteering while home insurance premiums are still doubled!
The governor and state officials continue to permit the insurance industry in Texas to maintain the highest home insurance premiums anywhere else in the nation.
Currently, we are nearing the end of the 1st fiscal business quarter of year 2009 and are in a softer insurance market. The industry has been reaping substantial profits for the past 5 years and is still content to keep premiums at this highest-ever level!
Despite high revenues, there is no sign of legislators providing more oversight and/or regulations on the insurance market, nor is the industry on its own considering lowering the premiums of home insurance to a more reasonable amount.
Periodically and when public opinion and discontent require it, Gov. Perry gives the issue some lip service and leaves it up to the Legislature to consider, but no one seriously acts on behalf of overburdened Texas homeowners. With ever-increasing property values via appraisals and escalating taxes, home insurance adds to the cause of record number of foreclosures throughout the state.
Apparently, unless Texans pound on the gubernatorial and legislative doors, communicating via phone and letters that home insurance relief is needed now, no one will do anything about it and Texas homeowners will continue to pay the highest premium costs anywhere in the nation.
We can NOT depend on the governor, legislators, current TDI Commissioner Mike Geeslin, or the insurance industry to offer homeowners relief. To them, the sweet smell of profits overrides the stench of decay from the American Dream becoming a nightmare for many of us.
We either can remain the docile sheep officials want us to be, or we can move on correcting this unacceptable series of insurance events.
TEXAS HOMEOWNERS MUST DEMAND REDUCTIONS IN PREMIUM COSTS WITHOUT REDUCING COVERAGE!!!