Texas welcome

Sara Waitt (Texas DOI) challenged attendees with some Texas-style trivia.
Sara Waitt (Texas DOI) challenged attendees with some Texas-style trivia.

Sara Waitt, general counsel for the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) welcomed all with fun facts on Texas to challenge the group’s knowledge of the host state.  Specifically, the group learned:

  • Approximately 80 percent of all Texans live in urban setting,
  • Texas has ranches larger than the state of Rhode Island,
  • Six flags have flown over the state of Texas,
  • Davy Crockett was a three-term Tennessee congressman before moving to Texas,
  • First word on moon was really, “Houston,” and
  • Regarding Texas law, it is illegal to put graffiti on someone else’s cow.

Focusing on insurance as the topic at hand, Waitt noted that Texas had no shortage of natural disasters and has had its share of hurricanes, tornados, ice storms, earthquakes and sinkholes—making the great state of Texas a natural destination for the 2012 ICAE Exchange.  She further noted that Texas is the third-largest insurance market in the world—stating that if something happens in Texas, it affects the world.

What’s on TDI’s agenda?
Now that she had our attention, Waitt focused more on TDI’s current agenda, which includes:

  • Working with multi-national businesses and their home countries on insurance issues,
  • Advocating for the equitable treatment of consumers, while creating an atmosphere conducive to business,
  • Working toward consistent application of actuarial guidelines for companies,
  • Addressing pricing issues with long-term care insurance, and
  • Handling the regular case load of questions, comments and complaints as befits the third-largest insurance market in the world.

Predicting the future:  It’s the weather
Why is Texas so big in insurance?  Well, of course, Texas is big in everything.  And, in addition to having a conducive climate for business, Texas has weather.  Not just any weather, BIG weather.  Because of the weather, homeowner premiums in Texas are high…or BIG.  Want proof?  Texas has had more FEMA declarations (119) than any other state; in addition, hail, tornados and storms are more frequent in Texas than in any other state.  As a result, TDI’s future-state agenda includes:

  • Working to mitigate the high cost of hail,
  • Myriad complex issues such as the adoption of holding company rules to allow better information to be shared with international regulators—so that TDI is better able to judge the strength of foreign companies,
  • Working toward evaluating health care collaboratives to ensure no monopolies are generated.

Waitt’s opening remarks focused for all attendees the important work of the insurance industry and the importance of the ICAE Exchange in promoting consumer affairs professionalism.

CONTACT INFO

Sara Waitt
General Counsel
Texas Department of Insurance
333 Gaudalupe Street
Austin, TX   78714
512.475.7517
sara.waitt@tdi.state.tx.us

www.tdi.state.tx.us

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