Sen. Hancock, what are you thinking?

One of the few consumer watchdogs we have in the state of Texas, the Office of Public Insurance Counsel, files a request to have a hearing regarding State Farm Lloyds (yes, the same assholes who do the commercials with the insipid jingle) request for a 20% rate increase. The very next day, Fort Worth Republican Kelly Hancock files a bill to eliminate the Office of Public Insurance Counsel. Hancock says this bill would ‘reduce the burden on taxpayers’ by eliminating a state agency. He fails to mention that it would also eliminate the only entity in state government protecting customers from what appears to be the predatory pricing of State Farm (which owes Texans between $300mn and $1bn for overcharges, per the TDI and Office of Public Insurance Counsel).

Let’s also keep in mind that Texans pay the highest homeowners insurance rates in the nation while receiving less coverage. It’s worth noting that Hancock received a big chunk of his campaign contributions from (you had to see it coming) the insurance lobby, including a big chunk from State Farm agents.

Hancock says that TDI is more than capable of protecting consumers, a claim that’s pretty thoroughly unsupported by history and evidence. OPIC has consistently been the only part of state government that’s been actively engaged in helping insurance consumers in the state of Texas. Which leaves Hancock with a thin excuse, and a big reason, to file a bill to eliminate it.

Full Disclosure : I’m a SF customer and if this goes rate increase goes through I will soon thereafter become a former SF customer.

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