Attorney Rene Sigman speaking at the TAPIA 2018 Fall Conference
Attorney Rene Sigman speaking at the TAPIA 2018 Fall Conference

Last week at the Texas Association of Public Insurance Adjuster (TAPIA) Fall Conference, Rene Sigman made the most dramatic speech ever at a public adjuster conference—and did it twice in one day. She stood up to a Texas politician railing about his constituents being harmed by bad laws and bad faith insurance companies. She called him out for voting against policyholders.

TWIA screwed over many policyholders following Hurricane Ike. and TWIA committed many acts of fraud to underpay policyholders including management changing field estimators reports without their approval or knowledge to lower claims payments. This Texas politician then voted to protect TWIA in 2011 and make it even harder for people to get full compensation required under the insurance policy.

In 2017, this same politician then voted for the private insurance industry helping pass the catastrophe bill now devastating policyholders along the Texas coast and in Houston in their fights with insurers. He certainly did not talk about that because his own constituents are now harmed by what he has done. Rene set the record straight about his poor voting record for policyholders.

Rene then made a presentation, Trends in Policies and Why You Should Care.” This presentation was a study about how the Texas Department of Insurance has allowed insurance companies to re-write polices. In every instance, the re-written language harms policyholders by making coverage less, making the policyholders duties after loss more, shortening time limitations which lets insurers escape otherwise valid claim obligations, and adds arbitration or appraisal processes which make it more costly for the policyholders and skewed in favor of the insurer.

Rene’s presentation shows how insurance regulators in Texas are guarding the insurance companies and failing to protect consumers. It is shameful conduct by the Texas Department of Insurance, and her study demonstrates it. Maybe somebody will care and make a needed changing of the guard at the Texas Department of Insurance.

TWIA has acted horribly to its coastal customers for a long time. It even had a protest against it with angry Texans venting frustration and demanding change in a post I wrote back in 2009, Texas Windstorm “Slabbers” and Policyholders March on Austin.

Why would any politician vote to make it even easier for TWIA or private insurance company claims management to harm customers unless they sold out to the insurance industry?

Merlin Law Group urges all Texans to vote for politicians who will pass legislation which protects them and not the bad acting insurance companies. Texas needs regulators who will actually regulate the insurance companies that the citizenry is paying them to do.

Merlin Law Group will help make more transparent who these politicians are that vote for insurance companies over their constituents.

Thought For The Day

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
― Rob Siltanen

Song For The Day Featuring The iconic Merlin in the 2017 Transpac

  • Richard Hunter

    Well said, it is terribly important that advocates such as Rene stand up to those who constantly team up with big business to bully the little guys. Most of the time people are simply unaware of the truth and simply need to be educated about what is going on and how they can help to change things for the better. Preach!

  • Bill Wilson

    One of the reasons for coverage reductions such as cosmetic roof damage or ACV valuation of roof damage is that regulators fail to allow insurers to increase rates for increasing frequency and severity of loss. If losses are increasing, but insurers are not allowed to increase premiums to pay for this, then the only choice in order to remain in the market is to reduce coverage, something that is not in the interest of insureds. It’s better for everyone to pay, say, 10% more than to to subject a minority of insureds with 4-figure or greater uninsured losses. It’s also better to encourage risk management approaches like designing roofing materials that are more wind and hail resistant. Until this happens, carriers often have no choice but to reduce coverage.

    • Bill,

      I agree with much of what you have written. TWIA
      has historically been very problematic for Texas. I find TWIA’s huge coastal
      role surprising because Texas is a state that has publicly prided itself more
      on free enterprise and market rates rather than government run programs.

      • Bill Wilson

        Regulators really need to do more than focus on keeping insurance “cheap.” The marketplace over the past 10+ years has seen a proliferation of inferior policy forms across all lines of insurance. Given that industry advertising focuses primarily (almost exclusively) on “cheap,” most insurance buyers are not aware of the often dramatic differences in coverage between policies and insurer claim practices. Some states, like NY, do make a good faith attempt to vet policy forms, but I believe that is likely the exception and not the rule.