Don’t be naïve. Texas insurance companies have most of the power, and consumers don’t. Learn what you can do.
You read the headline right. Texas state laws are written in favor of insurance companies. And they’re not there to help you, the consumer.
Aren’t we supposed to live in a country, according to the Gettysburg address,”…Of the people, by the people, for the people?”
Just take a look at some of these examples:
- Texas is the Only State that Doesn’t Require Employers to Carry Worker’s Comp
Texas does not require employers to carry workers’ comp insurance or any private equivalent. This story at the Texas Tribune says that since 2003, a third of all the new jobs in the US have been created in Texas. So that’s the defense for the opposition to requiring worker’s comp.
But, Texas has led the nation in injuries for 7 of the 10 years from 2004-2014. If 500,000 employees in our state get hurt or killed in an accident at work, they have no benefits available. And those plans that do exist are privately held, aren’t regulated by the state, and are constructed to curtail benefits. Just 41% of such plans include death benefits of any kind.
- Legal Standards Aren’t Enforced
Right now, most insurance companies don’t comply with Texas billing transparency law. This almost sounds shockingly hard to believe. But…in 2014 health care providers were required to submit reports to the Texas Department of Insurance detailing their billing practices, among other things.
However, just 25 of 140 plans in the state submitted their reports by the April 1st deadline. 7 months later in December, no actions of any kind were taken against those who didn’t file their reports. And during that time, just 3 more provider plans submitted their reports for a total of 28 of 140 plans (20.0%) submitted.
- Those with Power Pass Laws in Their Favor
Recently, this controversial bill would make it harder for homeowners to sue insurance companies for certain damages. Claims insurers typically pay for losses after a storm, fire, or accident would now be subject to a 2-year time limit, policyholders need to show advance written proof of such claims, proof of their damages, and they’d have to sign a statement declaring damages occurred. Opponents to the measure argue it takes away property rights Texas has protected for decades.
- Things Change with Time – Texas Used to Be Tough on Insurers, But Now…
“Bad Faith Claims” in Texas are now easier for insurance companies to avoid. We’ll spare you the dense legal language here (or you can read it for yourself here). In simple terms, insured individuals in Texas now have the burden of proof in showing that an “insurer knew or should have known that it was reasonably clear that the claim was covered.”
The Moral of the Story: The deck is already stacked against injured victims in favor of insurance companies. Retain an injury lawyer to help level the playing field.
Shane V. Mullen is an attorney licensed by the State of Texas for the general practice of law, and the Managing Partner at Mullen & Mullen Law Firm in Dallas, TX. His firm focuses exclusively on personal injury law and has been in business for 40 years. Before becoming a lawyer, Shane worked for his father as an accident injury claims investigator.