TWIA and Fair Plan: Agents May Be Subject to Open Records Request

February 7, 2011

The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) and Texas FAIR Plan Association (TFPA) recently notified insurance agents that the organizations have received a formal request to inspect or copy some of their files.

The requested files include information held by TWIA and/or TFPA regarding agents and their commissions. The Office of the Attorney General is expected to issue a decision on whether Texas law requires TWIA and/or TFPA to release the records, according to the notice. Generally, the Public Information Act (the Act) requires the release of requested information, but there are exceptions. The Independent Insurance Agents of Texas has proposed that insurance agents’ information should be exempt.

The notice, sent by David Weber, TWIA vice president, legal, said agents may object to the release of their records by submitting written arguments to the AG that one or more exceptions apply to their records. Agents are not required to submit an argument, but if none is submitted, the AG’s office will presume the agents have no interest in withholding their records from disclosure, Weber said.

If agents fail to act, Weber wrote, the AG will more than likely rule that their records must be released to the public.

More information on the request for information and agent responsibilities is on TWIA’s Web site at: http://www.twia.org/Portals/0/Documents/Formal_Request_Inspect_Files.pdf.

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