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Date: Thursday, May 12, 2011, 2:49pm CDT
The Texas House voted to continue Texas Department of Insurance functions, but not without making some changes that supporters say would improve transparency and accountability.

TDI is responsible for regulating insurance companies to ensure customers have access to competitive and fair insurance products. Officials also investigate insurance law violations.

If passed, the bill would clarify regulating of certain rates under the file-and-use system, limit the insurance commissioner's time to complete rate increase reviews to 30 days and require TDI to make rate review procedures public.

House Bill 1951 would also streamline the agency by abolishing 15 boards and committees, plus specify the relationship among the relating advisory committees.

The GOP-dominated House considered more than 70 amendments to the bill on its second and third readings, rejecting many pro-consumer amendments presented by Democrats.

HB 1951 is part of the Sunset process — a review that every state agency must undergo every 12 years to determine whether it is still needed.

TDI was last scheduled for review in 2009, but the legislature was not able to tackle the bill in time. The department was extended for another two years and is set to expire on Sept. 1 if HB 1951 is not passed.

With a final vote of 101-40, the legislation now moves to the Senate for approval



Read more: Texas House seeks Department of Insurance transparency | Houston Business Journal
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