Until recently, anyone shopping for insurance in Texas could visit the Texas Department of Insurance website to see a list of insurance companies and agents who had been disciplined for violating state rules each month.
Unfortunately for consumers, however, the TDI quietly discontinued its practice of making disciplinary information available online in September 2011, a Star-Telegram columnist reported recently.
While the details about disciplinary actions against insurance agencies are still technically available to the public, consumers now must take the considerable extra step of requesting copies of the disciplinary orders from the TDI Public Information Office. Some consumer protection advocates believe this is a step few people are likely to take; according to the Star-Telegram article, only four individuals have requested the list of insurance professionals sanctioned for violating state rules thus far.
For instance, a bulletin on the TDI website announcing the disciplinary enforcement actions that took place in January 2012 provides only a brief summary, stripped of identifying information: Five insurance agents had their licenses revoked, and were ordered to pay fines and restitution totaling $68,300. While the bulletin states the disciplinary actions involved misappropriation of funds and making a material misstatement on a license application, it does not link the violations to any particular insurance agent or agency – and without these critical details, this report is of little use to people who may use the site to help guide their decisions about which insurance agency to do business with.
As the Star-Telegram article points out, licensed professionals in other industries routinely have their disciplinary actions made available online to the public. Unlike insurance agents, doctors, lawyers and even architects who violate state ethics rules end up having their names published online for potential clients to see.
People involved in insurance disputes over denied claims, denial of coverage, or unreasonably low settlement offers are encouraged to seek help from an experienced insurance law and consumer protection attorney.