Dear colleagues and friends,
Many of you may have heard that I will be leaving IIAT soon. My last day to work for the association will be Friday, July 28. While I am excited about embarking on the next chapter of my professional journey, it is impossible not to reminisce about the incredible seventeen years I have spent here at IIAT.
Looking back on the remarkable achievements of our Government Affairs department, I am amazed at the breadth of legislation our team has worked on over the years. We have appeared before the Texas Department of Insurance, participated in committee hearings and have engaged in meetings with legislative members, more times than I can count. Through these efforts, I am confident that we have effectively shed light on the concerns and ideas of our agents.
Reflecting on the past ten years, five legislative sessions, fills me with nostalgia. I’m proud of the work we did to help get important bills passed into law. Below, I've included a list of some of the more recent and memorable bills I’m proud to have worked on.
This success is undoubtedly owed to the outstanding colleagues I have had the privilege to work with at IIAT and the unwavering support we have received from our members. The various IIAT Boards and IIAT Executive Director & President Marit Peters have provided the government affairs team with the necessary support to effectively represent IIAT and independent agents at the Texas Capitol.
The financial backing we’ve received from members through IMPACT has been the greatest support. Our Political Action Committee remains one of the largest insurance PACs in Texas, and its critical role in our industry’s future success cannot be overstated. By electing business-minded legislators from diverse backgrounds, political philosophies, and regions of our state, we have maintained a strong and influential voice in the Capitol. I humbly request that you continue to support IIAT’s endeavors and Government Affairs Director Regan Ellmer in the future, just as you have supported me in the past.
In the Texas Legislature, the final act of each session is the ceremonial "Sine Die," a Latin term meaning "without day." For the past seventeen years, I have witnessed this tradition, made cherished memories, and formed lasting friendships within this industry.
Although I will be leaving IIAT, I am not retiring just yet. I want to express my deepest gratitude for the memories we have shared, the unwavering support you have provided, and the enduring friendships we have formed. Rather than saying goodbye, I will simply "Sine Die."
With heartfelt appreciation,
IIAT Chief Legislative Officer
Here are some of the more recent and memorable bills I’m proud to have worked on with my colleagues.
2015 / 84th Legislative session
SB 876 by Sen Eltife - An omnibus agent licensing bill including a common expiration for all licenses held by an agent.
SB 956 by Sen. Eltife – Requires personal lines policies be delivered to the insured or their agent within 30 days of effective date and 15 days on renewal when requested.
2017 / 85th Legislative session
HB 1774 by Rep Bonnen – Known as the Hail Litigation bill, 1774 worked to stop mass litigation after a hailstorm by requiring 60-day pre-suit notices as well as limiting attorney fees.
HB 1559 by Rep Frullo – The surplus lines freedom bill eliminates the “diligent effort” requirement if certain conditions are met. Allows agents to present all options to sophisticated commercial purchasers.
SB 417 by Sen Watson – Requires insurers to give notification to agents and consumers if significant changes are made in personal policies and removed non-renewal notice if a change is made in a policy.
HB 3018 by Rep Phelan – TWIA reciprocity bill was in reaction to Louisiana excluding out of state agents from writing in their wind pool. 3018 requires reciprocity for state access to TWIA.
SB 507 by Sen Hancock – Known as the balance billing bill, this was the first of a number of bills trying to curb the practice of balance billing for medical claims.
2019 / 86th Legislative Session
SB 590 by Sen Watson – the second part of the change notification requirements applying to commercial lines policies.
SB 442 by Sen Hancock – After the massive flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, this bill requires that every commercial and residential property policy contain a notice that flood is not included.
HB 259 by Rep Thompson – While in theory Named Driver policies were reasonable alternatives, in practice, they were seen as a way to deny coverage in a large number of claims. HB 259 prohibits the use of Named Driver policies in Texas.
HB 1555 by Rep Smithee – This clarifies the question of whether a summary of coverage modifies or changes the policy language. HB 1555 clearly states that a summary of a policy or endorsement does not change policy language.
HB 3420 by Rep Lambert – Certain companies have changed policy forms in a way that excludes coverage for a temporary substitute vehicle . HB 3420 requires the PAP to provide primary liability coverage for a temporary substitute vehicle.
2021 / 87th Legislative Session
HB 19 by Rep Leach – While we have not seen the full effect of this legislation, HB 19, the Trucking litigation bill, is an attempt to stem the runaway nuclear verdicts that we are seeing in commercial auto claims. The full force of this legislation will not be felt until a case is appealed through the legal system.
HB 4030 by Rep Smithee – This licensing bill amends the requirement of agents to submit to the TDI a list of sub agents in each office. This also increased ethics training from 2 hours to 3 hours each cycle.
SB 1602 by Sen Taylor – SB 1602 is to eliminate the practice by certain insurers of denying claims when their insured fails to cooperate. This requires that if a claim is denied for non-cooperation, notice of non-renewal must be given.
2023 / 88th Legislative Session
HB 1900 John Smithee – Under this bill, nonrenewal notice requirements will increase from 30 days to 60 days.
SB 2232 by Sen LaMantia – SB 2232 requires agents to be “certified” to submit applications to TWIA. For the agents that work with TWIA on a regular basis, there is no problem. However, for those that only submit applications infrequently, some basic knowledge is necessary.
SB 2233 by Sen LaMantia – Automatic renewal of TWIA personal lines policies has worked well, but it has failed in Commercial lines. This will again require that commercial renewals be handled by the agent prior to renewal.