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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
Posted 2:55 PM  View Comments

Floods? That's what disaster assistance is for, right?

Wrong - Disaster assistance is only available when the President declares a disaster.  Federal disaster assistance is USUALLY A LOAN that you must PAY BACK WITH INTEREST. For a $50,000 loan at 4% interest, your monthly payment would be around $240 a month ($2,880 per year) for 30 years, in addition to your mortgage loan that you still owe on the damaged property. Plus you would need to buy and maintain flood insurance for the life of the loan.

Flood Insurance is affordable! The average premium for flood insurance coverage is less than $570 a year (even less outside of high risk zones). Plus, when you submit a flood insurance claim, you are compensated for all covered losses whether or not a disaster has been declared - and you do not have to pay it back.

There is a standard 30-day waiting period for new policies unless purchased during a home closing.  There are also restrictions for selling or changing policies while a named storm is in the Gulf of Mexico. 

For more information, call your Cornerstone Agent at: 713-948-0707
or visit

Posted 5:32 PM  View Comments

Better Business Bureau Recognizes
Cornerstone Insurance Agency with
Winner of Distinction Award


Cornerstone Insurance Agency received the Winner of Distinction Award at the Better Business Bureau Awards for Excellence luncheon held Wednesday, May 4 at the InterContinental Houston near the Galleria.  This was Cornerstone Insurance Agency's 1st time to be recognized by the BBB for service excellence.

The BBB Awards for Excellence recognizes businesses and non-profits for their achievements and commitment to overall excellence and quality in the workplace.  Proceeds from the event help fund the BBB Education Foundation which educates consumers about scams and fraudulent business practices in the Greater Houston area.

When asked what it means to Cornerstone Insurance Agency's to receive this recognition, Leah Blache, Owner, states “We work hard to provide top notch service to our customers and clients and it is an honor to be recognized for our efforts.”

Posted 3:54 PM  View Comments

7 Flood Insurance Myths

Myth #1: Hurricanes, not floods, are the No. 1 natural disaster and cause the biggest economic losses in the United States.

Hurricanes grab the headlines, but because floods happen in virtually every part of the country, they cause more losses than any other type of natural disaster.  What causes floods?

Rising rivers * Storms * Early snowmelts * Manmade problems from the construction of roads, shopping malls, homes, and industrial complexes * Hurricanes

Myth #2: Everyone who lives in a flood zone has to buy flood insurance.

Nope. You must buy flood insurance only if you meet all three of these criteria:

  • You buy a home in a special flood hazard area where there’s a 1% chance of flooding in any year.
  • Your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • You buy your home using a loan from a federally insured financial institution, or a Fannie Mae- or Freddie Mac-guaranteed loan.

Myth #3: Flood insurance is always expensive.

Flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program is sometimes expensive and sometimes cheap, depending on how much your home and its contents are worth.

  • It can cost as little as $129 a year for $20,000 of rebuilding coverage and $8,000 in contents in a low-risk area.
  • It can cost up to $6,000 a year if you buy the highest possible coverage of $250,000 and live in a high-risk area.
  • It could cost $472 for $35,000 in damage coverage in a high-risk area.

Premiums vary a lot based on where you live. If you want to buy $250,000 of building coverage and $100,000 of contents coverage, you’d pay about:

  • $6,000 in a high-risk coastal area
  • $2,700 in a high-risk inland area
  • $400 a year in a low-to-moderate-risk inland area.


Myth #4: Taxpayers are footing the bill for federal flood insurance.

The NFIP doesn’t spend any tax dollars. The government sets the premium rates high enough to cover flood insurance claims and operating expenses in an average historical loss year. The program can borrow money from the U.S. Treasury when losses are heavy, but has to pay those loans back with interest.


Myth #5: Companies sell flood insurance, so we don't need government to compete.

Private flood insurance isn’t available for homes valued at less than $1 million and only four companies offer flood insurance to home owners with high-value property, according to a Government Accountability Office study. The National Flood Insurance Program is the only program offering low- and middle-income home owners flood insurance. If it disappeared, those home owners wouldn’t have another option.

Myth #6: I don't own a beach house. People who do use flood insurance most.

Many people associate beachfront property with flooding, but more than 98% of the properties insured through the National Flood Insurance Program are inland. Most beach areas are off limits to the National Flood Insurance Program because the Coastal Barrier Resources Act bans federal support of beachfront development.


Myth #7: The flood insurance program subsidizes beachfront home owners.

Five of the top 12 states with the most number of years in which claims exceeded premiums are in the Midwest. Many of the states hardest hit by floods are nowhere near the beach:

Illinois * Kansas * Missouri * Ohio * South Dakota * West Virginia

In the few coastal areas where the National Flood Insurance Program is allowed, the number of flood insurance policies issued represents only 2% of all NFIP policies. 

Original Article By: Dona DeZube :  Published: March 23, 2011

Read more:

Progressive's Snapshot of You Sweepstakes

Progressive is have a weekly (through June 4, 2011) contest to promote thier new "Snapshot" product.  Follow the link below to sumbit your snapshot and enter the weekly drawing.  While your there, take a look at  Progressive's Snapshot program!  You could be saving on your car insurance based on how you drive!  

Submit a photo of yourself to win in the Snapshot of You Sweepstakes - you could win one of 65 cool prizes; like a Motorola Xoom™, Samsung Netbook or Canon PowerShot™ digital camera
Posted 2:16 PM  View Comments

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