Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Monday | October 14, 2002

Insurance crisis in TX may be Dems gain

It's not Molly Ivins best effort, a bit convoluted and difficult to read. But, the gist is critical to understanding what's become THE issue in the Texas gubernatorial campaign:

AUSTIN, Texas -- Have you lost your homeowner's insurance lately? Seven hundred thousand of us here in Texas have, after Farmers Insurance decided to pull out of the Texas market -- despite the fact that we pay the highest insurance rates in the nation, an annual average of $680 more than homeowners in other states.

So here's 700,000 of us scrambling to find new insurance and fainting when we hear the rates quoted. If we don't carry insurance, under law, the mortgage companies can seize our homes. Great, a whole new class -- the affluent homeless.

How, you may ask, did we get into this mess?


Alas, our governor, Rick (Goodhair) Perry, who has collected $1 million in insurance-company campaign contributions, is notoriously kind to the industry. Many of the 87 vetoes Perry unleashed in the "veto blizzard" of aught-one were, to put it mildly, at the behest of the insurance industry. But now insurance companies are as popular as the clap in this state, and everybody and his hamster is scrambling to get as far away as they can, while simultaneously accusing their political opponents of being in bed with the monsters. All in all, it's quite festive down here.

Perry is definitely on the defensive. Not only are homeowner insurance rates in Texas skyrocketing, but many former Farmers Insurance customers won't be able to get new insurance. It seems insurance companies won't take your business if you've made a claim in the past three years. According to Farmer's numbers, that's just shy of 200,000 of its customers. And, as Ivins notes, if you don't have homeowner's insurance, the mortgage companies can seize your home.

And the people behind this scam are all in bed with Gov. Rick Perry. Perry, of course, is full of ideas for reforming the system", but as in the corporate governance issue in DC, the GOP talk a good game when the cameras are on, and then go back to business as usual when the press and public move on the next BIG issue.

In their recent debate, Sanchez pointed out Perry received more than $1 million in campaign contributions, and hammered Perry repeatedly for refusing to call a special session of the legislature to resolve the crisis:

Sanchez, who owns a bank that brokers insurance policies, repeatedly criticized Perry for not calling a special session before now to close loopholes in state law. Several times he said Perry was doing the bidding of the insurance companies that contribute to his campaign.

But Perry said legislators from both parties have discouraged him from calling a special session until the insurance crisis has been investigated more thoroughly and workable legislation is proposed.

In the only new proposal that surfaced during the debate, Sanchez said he will ask the attorney general to seek a court of inquiry to investigate state officials, lobbyists and insurance officials to determine the cause of the insurance problems.

"They (insurance companies) have been abusing the families of Texas for a long, long time and that's got to end," Sanchez said.

If Dem challenger Tony Sanchez can't ride this fiasco to victory, he doesn't deserve to be governor.

Posted October 14, 2002 09:35 AM | Comments (1)


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