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    Texas Department of Insurance Cautions Insurers Against Unauthorized Market Withdrawals following Hurricane Harvey

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    On September 15, 2017, the Texas Department of Insurance issued a public bulletin concerning possible insurance company reductions in business following Hurricane Harvey.  In Commissioner’s Bulletin #B-0031-17, the Department reminded insurers of the specific Texas statutory thresholds for a reduction in business necessitating a formal withdrawal plan filing with the Department.  Currently, under Section 827.003 of the Texas Insurance Code, a withdrawal plan filing is required if an insurer proposes to reduce (i) its total annual premium volume by 50% or more, (ii) reduce its annual premium by 75% or more in a specific Texas line of insurance, or (iii) reduce in Texas or a rating territory, its total annual premium volume in a line of personal auto or residential property by 50% or more.

    Withdrawal plans are subject to Departmental approval and specific statutory and regulatory requirements as to content and criteria for approval.  Separate from the more extensive requirements for withdrawal plans, Texas statutes also contain requirements for restriction plans for insurers proposing to restrict new business writings in a line of personal auto or residential property in response to catastrophic events such as Hurricane Harvey.  As is typical with most required filings and as emphasized by a stern warning to insurers included in the bulletin, non-compliance can lead to Departmental enforcement actions.

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