insurance

Could Liability Insurance for Bars Curb Drunk Driving?

Mar 17, 2015
Photo courtesy flickr.com/ kevharb

This legislative session, Arlington Rep. Chris Turner pre-filed a bill that would hold bars responsible for the behavior of over-served customers, requiring all bars in the state carry minimum liability insurance.

While Turner’s bill may seem onerous to some bar owners, he argues his proposal to require bars to have insure bars would insulate owners from lawsuits and, ultimately, curb drunk driving.

flickr.com/59195512@N00

Texas homeowners may be paying among the highest insurance rates in the country– but at least they’re no longer the highest. 

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners' latest report says while premiums for Texas homeowners have dropped to third in the nation, they’re still above the national average. 

Rates in other states are higher, in part, because the figures now include the cost of windstorm insurance. Mark Hanna of the Insurance Council of Texas says the states with the top rates have something else in common.

Staff Sgt. James L. Harper Jr., U.S. Air Force via flickr.com/chucksimmins

A refusal to pay losses caused by Hurricane Ike has again thrust the bedraggled Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) into the courthouse, while raising doubts over the agency’s process for resolving claims.

The city of Galveston sued TWIA Friday. It claims the agency is refusing to pay almost $14 million for damage caused by the storm, even after agency and city appraisers agreed on the cost.

League City is also suing TWIA over $3.4 million in unpaid damages it says the agency agreed it would pay.

TWIA declined to comment on the lawsuits. State Rep. Craig Eiland, D-Galveston, is representing the city of Galveston. Houston trial lawyer Steve Mostyn, who has secured millions for TWIA policyholders, is representing League City.

Flickr/Chelsea Gomez http://www.flickr.com/photos/pyxopotamus/3385869861/in/photostream/

This Monday, March 25, has a date with a dark recent history here in the Austin area. The last three major hail storms we’ve had all have been on March 25, in 1993, 2005 and 2009.

“It is kind of unusual that three of the costliest storms have occurred on that individual date,” says Mark Hanna of the Insurance Council of Texas

National Weather Service

Good morning! Austin’s in for a sunny, dry and breezy day with a high in the mid 60s, according to the National Weather Service. No Red Flag warning for Austin today (signaling fire danger from high winds), but San Antonio and counties to the south are under a warning all day. Read more below about area burn bans.

Lead Story: Many Central Texans are still picking up after Monday's high winds. Gusts topping 50 miles an hour toppled fences and tore shingles from roofs.

Few governors have been as vocal and as unequivocal in their opposition to the federal health care law as Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Perry, a Republican, has vowed not to expand Medicaid and not to create an insurance exchange. Consumer advocates in Texas say the Perry administration has also been dragging its feet when it comes to insurance rate review.

Photo by Wells Dunbar for KUT News

President Obama’s signature healthcare reforms calls for an automatic review of any increase in health insurance costs ten percent or higher.

But an organization promoting better health care access across Texas says the agency in charge of monitoring and reviewing these hikes isn’t doing its job.

The Texas Department of Insurance is responsible for determining whether or not price increases for insurance premiums are justified. This is supposed to help protect consumers from overpaying for insurance.

flickr.com/trp0

Under a federal determination released today, insurers in Texas will have to abide by spending rules set forth in President Obama’s signature health care reform package. 

One of the provisions in the Affordable Care Act stipulates that insurers must spend 80% of customers’ premium dollars on medical care, and not overhead costs. Any overhead spending over 20%, and insurance companies would be required to issue rebates to their customers.

That said, states can apply for an adjustment of to increase the amount they spend on overhead. The Texas Department of Insurance applied to do just that, requesting to ramp up medical care spending more slowly: 71% for (current) reporting year 2011, 74% for 2012, and 77% for 2013.

home construction in Austin TX
Image by KUT News

Farmers Insurance wants to raise it's home insurance rate by nearly 4% next year.

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that Farmers' filled a 3.9% rate increase with the Texas Department of Insurance on Tuesday.  The rate would will affect about half of the company's Texas customers.