The Texas Office of Public Insurance Counsel (OPIC) has asked the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) to conduct a special data call of the top 10 auto insurance groups in the state to gather information about personal auto claims during the COVID-19 pandemic.
OPIC said it needs the data to fulfill its statutory duty to assess the impact of insurance rates on insurance consumers in Texas and to represent their interests.
In a letter to Texas Insurance Commissioner Kent Sullivan, Public Counsel Melissa Hamilton said pandemic-specific data is needed for rate filing reviews.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, OPIC has been monitoring the personal auto insurance market in the state to ensure that Texans pay fair prices for their insurance. These monitoring efforts include objecting to personal auto rate increases and tracking any premium assistance to policyholders, such as rebates and credits. OPIC has also provided individuals and small businesses with assistance through our website and social media applications. Because of the unprecedented nature of this pandemic and its impact on driving, combined with the way rates are normally filed and supported, OPIC’s normal rate filing reviews may not be enough to ensure that auto insurance rates meet legal requirements and are appropriate, given the effect of the pandemic. Additional auto claims data would be a valuable resource to ensure effective and comprehensive monitoring of the Texas market,” Hamilton wrote.
Hamilton asked that the data call be initiated by July 15, with a “with an expectation that monthly claim data for January through June could be reported by July 31, and July claim counts by August 15.” OPIC envisions the data call to be ongoing for the pandemic’s duration. It requests reporting of paid claim counts for all lines and “arising claims counts for bodily injury liability only.”
OPIC said the data call is needed due to the reduction in driving brought on by the pandemic. Hamilton said in the letter that OPIC has reviewed data that shows “total vehicle miles driven in Texas, for the last week of May versus the first week of March 2020, declined 43.2%, even with the inclusion of Memorial Day in the May data. This figure is reasonably consistent with the decline in vehicle crashes and reported claim reductions.”
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