Texas Farm Bureau proposes giving homeowners choice to get discount, lose right to sue insurer


homeowners-discount |

“According to Texas Farm Bureau, these counties would be offered a 10-25 percent discount: Brooks, Cameron, Duval, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kleberg, Nueces, Starr, Webb, Willacy, Zavala and Zapata.

Texas Farm Bureau has proposed giving homeowners the option of receiving a discount by forfeiting their right to sue the insurer, a controversial plan which bears watching on the automotive side as well.

The Texas Department of Insurance has never seen the option offered on the personal lines side — only in commercial policies — and has called a public hearing next week to examine the idea, according to a spokesman.

Should the idea be approved, Texas Farm Bureau could offer the homeowner’s insurance option across the state, Jerry Hagins of the TDI said Wednesday.

Policyholders who took the insurer up on it would agree first to try mediation, followed by arbitration — under federal, not Texas’ arbitration law — and while appeals are possible, arbitration is usually binding, according to the American Bar Association.

Not only would a policyholder sign away their constitutional right to a jury trial, but they’d potentially also lose some free speech — neither party in the dispute would be able to talk about the arbitration unless both sides agree to that discussion.  Read More…