The Dallas Morning News published a good letter to the editor today regarding the outrageous homeowner insurance premiums in Texas. The letter is from the executive director of Texas Watch.
Re: “Let Deregulation Work – Prices for homeowners insurance have fallen,” Monday Editorials.
The insurance industry continues to sell the idiotic notion that the rates they are charging are fair. That is to be expected, but it is surprising that The Dallas Morning News editorial board would ignore the facts and buy the insurance industry’s line.
Lawmakers and their constituents are frustrated and angry over the way so-called insurance reform has played out. That’s to be expected. Industry lobbyists promised meaningful rate relief, as well as a simpler, more efficient and fairer market. Those promises have been flatly broken.
Texans continue to pay the highest premiums in the nation. We are getting less for every premium dollar. Coverage has been slashed and the amount paid in legitimate claims has plummeted. Meanwhile, homeowners are paying overcharges while the insurance companies and state regulators spend years fighting over whether rates are fair.
Instead of squeezing homeowners in a system that forces the insurance commissioner to play a ridiculous cat-and-mouse game with insurers caught gouging policyholders, we should require insurance companies to gain approval of their rates before, not after, they are imposed on policyholders.
If insurance companies want to fight with the insurance department over a rate, they can, but homeowners shouldn’t be forced to endure years of overcharges in the meantime. It is time for real insurance reform, and lawmakers who are taking the lead to find meaningful solutions should be applauded.
N. Alex Winslow
Texas Watch, Austin