The Texas Legislature meets for 140 days every other year in odd-numbered years. The 84th Texas Legislature is currently underway, and the NAIFA-Texas team is diligently tracking legislation which may impact Texas insurance agents and financial advisors and their clients.
The insurance industry in Texas is large and diverse.
This report summarizes the economic footprint of the industry in the following areas: life, long-term care, and disability insurance; health insurance; property/casualty insurance; catastrophes; investments; taxes; and employment.
Issues of Importance
PROBLEM: Varied renewal dates for insurance licenses
Multiple license renewal dates can cause confusion for license holders to properly renew all of their insurance licenses. The problems this causes are:
- Potentially exposes the public who use the services provided by improperly licensed agents
- Multiple number of times TDI handles each individual’s license renewal requests
- Inefficient license renewal management for the thousands of insurance license holders
TDI processes requests for 23 individual insurance licenses and 22 business entity licenses. Over the last decade, the agency experienced an unprecedented 60 percent increase in insurance agent and adjuster license requests. The increased demand for agent and adjuster licenses in Texas, and the greater complexity of certain filings, has strained agency resources and its ability to deliver licensing services in a timely manner, while providing quality customer service.
It is common for an agent or adjuster to hold several different licenses, and many times each license has a different renewal date. The different renewal dates make it difficult for licensees to keep all of their licenses current and to comply with continuing education (CE) requirements. Aligning individual license renewal dates for the same date every two years removes an unnecessary regulatory burden on Texas agents and adjusters, as well as the insurers and agencies that employ them. It would also simplify fees and CE requirements for subsequent new licenses.
SOLUTION: Allow TDI to designate one expiration date for each license issued.
- Protects the public from improperly licensed agents
- Reduces the number of times the department handles each licensee
- Allows for more efficient management of multiple licenses for thousands of Texas agents
With the 12th largest insurance market in the world and more than $123.4 billion in premiums paid by Texas businesses and consumers in 2013, the state continues to experience record growth in insurance agent applications filed with the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI). Filings for agent licensure have increased from 699,971 in FY 2004 to 1,076,325 in FY 2013.
TDI has stepped up its efforts to meet the growing demand for Texas insurance agent licenses, but delays continue to result in processing times that often exceed 60 days. Despite having completed and passed the state’s licensure exam this lag prevents many applicants from beginning work, delaying their efforts to provide for themselves and their families and creating bureaucratic frustration for individuals, companies and agencies who have invested time in the licensing process.
By offering a 90-day provisional work authority for individuals who have passed the state’s licensure exam and submitted fingerprints for criminal background reviews, the state can allow applicants for licenses to begin work without such delays. This measure will offer a solution to the application backlog and support those individuals seeking to contribute to the state’s economy and society as licensed insurance agents under the laws of Texas.
Texas requires resident agents to complete 30 Continuing Education hours every two years. This contrasts to the majority of states who only require 24 CE hours.
Therefore, NAIFA-Texas supports adjusting the resident agent CE requirements to create a level playing field for agents in Texas.
NAIFA-Texas believes consumers should have unfettered access and freedom of choice in engaging competent, knowledgeable and ethical agents and advisors, in order to receive professional risk management and closely related financial planning services. NAIFA-Texas strongly condemns all sales practices that are misleading to consumers and not in conformity with State and Federal Unfair Trade Practices.
NAIFA-Texas supports a variety of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) model laws that provide effective regulation and supervision of insurance agents. NAIFA-Texas opposes any and all inappropriate attempts or ill-advised proposals to create laws, regulations, rules or policies by any government entity that would effectively undermine, modify, intervene with, or otherwise, forcibly sever the nature or integrity of the agent/client relationship.
Millions of Texans depend on life insurance industry products to protect their financial and retirement security. Exemptions from seizure for life insurance policies and annuities were added to the Insurance Code in landmark legislation initiated by NAIFA-Texas in the early 1990s and are in addition to the exemptions from garnishment, attachment, execution or other seizure under Chapter 42, Texas Property Code.
NAIFA-Texas is committed to the preservation of provisions that shelter life insurance policies and annuities from a demand in bankruptcy, garnishment, attachment, execution or seizure.
Go to the Texas Legislature Online and input your home address to find the names and contact information of your state Senator and state Representative.
Drop by their offices in your district to introduce yourself and NAIFA. Offer to be of assistance on any insurance or financial services issues as they arise throughout the session.
Issues of importance to NAIFA-Texas will be heard by the following committees: House Insurance, House Investments and Financial Services, House Pensions, and Senate Business & Commerce.
These committees meet according to the following schedule:
House Investments and Financial Services: Wednesdays at 2 pm central
(All others TBD)