WHAT IS THE TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE AND WHAT ARE ITS POWERS?October 17, 2016
A lot of people have heard of the Texas Department of Insurance yet many are unfamiliar with its purpose and function. What is the Texas Department of Insurance and what are its powers? The Texas Department of Insurance (“TDI”) was founded in 1876 the office of Insurance Commissioner. By 1907 the commissioner’s duties expanded to the state’s agriculture, statistics, history, and banking. In 1923 the Texas Legislature separated the insurance and banking branch, creating a commissioner position for each. As population and businesses grew, scandals in the 1950s led to sixteen insurance-related bills passed by the Legislature which gave TDI much of its current authority over the insurance industry.
Today TDI attempts to regulate the insurance industry ensuring fair competition to foster a competitive market place that protects consumers. Under Texas law, TDI provides necessary licenses to all insurance companies, insurance-related businesses, and individuals that work on behalf of insurance companies. TDI’s controls extends over all forms of insurance policies that individuals and business may obtain, and even reaches to out-of-state insurance companies, whose insured’s have been affected in Texas.
TDI is led by a commissioner which acts as the chief executive and administrative officer. The commissioner of TDI is appointed by the governor with the senate’s consent, and serves a two-year term. The commissioner and TDI may issue disciplinary orders in an effort to hold individuals as well as insurance companies accountable. These orders include fines for failing to file proper documents, fines for failing to pay clients, and suspension of adjuster licenses. Those facing disciplinary action may file a motion for rehearing, but the Commissioner has the discretion to act on those motions. If the issue is further disputed the disciplinary orders are subject to the appeals process in state district court.
If you suspect your claim is not being handled in bad faith, such as incomplete inspections, unexcused delays, attempted underpayments, or a denial for a valid claim, the TDI has a procedure for complaints. You may file your claims electronically through the TDI website.
Alternatively, you may obtain legal advice. The attorneys at the Amaro Law Firm have vast experience dealing with insurance companies. Prior to working with the Amaro Law Firm, some of the attorneys worked as defense lawyers for the insurance companies. These lawyers now understand both sides of the dispute and tactics used by the insurance companies and put this to use in helping property owners fight for fair and just treatment. Consultations are free, and if value cannot be added to your claim, we will not take your case. When insurance companies are caught acting in bad faith, they are required to pay the full amount and reasonable attorney’s fees, which means we only are paid when we do our job.