The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) announced that as early as Spring of 2010, non-compliance notices will be mailed to owners of uninsured vehicles. The notice will provide a warning for those driving uninsured - the situation will need to be corrected immediately. The notice will list the potential fines for driving uninsured and advise repeat offenders they face suspension of driving privileges.
The non-compliance notices are going out as part of the TexasSure Uninsured Motorists Verification program passed by the 79th Legislature. The law requires insurers to submit their active policyholder information to the state, who in turn matches the submitted VIN numbers with the VINs contained in the registered vehicle database at TxDMV. Of the VIN numbers submitted by insurers, 99 percent were successfully matched to the vehicle registration database.
One in Four are Uninsured
While TDI will not release specific statistics, it is estimated at a minimum, one out of every four vehicles on Texas roads is currently not insured. In June of 2008, access to the TexasSure program was provided to DPS officers and all 254 county tax offices. The program was an immediate hit. 'Motorists have overwhelmingly embraced the TexasSure database, especially given its 99 percent success rate of matching vehicles to their insurance coverage,' said Rebecca Davio, TxDMV's Director of Vehicle Titles and Registration. 'It's proving to be a tremendous resource for identifying those without insurance.' Notices are currently being mailed to the one percent of policyholders whose insurer reported coverage, yet their VIN number was unable to be matched to a current vehicle registration.
Ongoing Monitoring of Uninsured Vehicles
'Texas agents and citizens alike have long awaited this time.' comments Christine Huddleston, President of the Alliance of Insurance Agents of Texas (AIAT). The AIAT played a significant role in the passage and implementation of the TexasSure program.
'Law enforcement throughout our state have praised the system and appreciate the ability to verify whether a vehicle is insured by just running their license plate number. However, it has always been our top priority to prevent the uninsured from getting behind the wheel in the first place. These notices will serve as a proactive approach in reducing the number of uninsured drivers and we commend the TDI for all of their efforts in getting us to this point.'
TDI advised auto insurers the non-compliance notices will begin in Spring of 2010. All registered vehicles will be tracked on an ongoing basis to monitor their insured status. After a vehicle is listed as uninsured for nine (9) consecutive weeks, a letter of non-compliance will be mailed to the registered owner.
Are You Ready to Handle the New Business?
'Agents need to be prepared. It is going to be the 1980s all over again.' says Mary Ann Hooten, a Territory Manager for GAINSCO Auto Insurance. Mary Ann worked for an insurance agency in 1982 when the mandatory insurance law initially passed in Texas. 'Our phones rang off the hook every night until midnight. That all happened back in the day when applications were written by hand. We had to turn the phones off at night, even though they were ringing, because we simply could not handle any more business.'
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About the Author
AnMarie Bozick, CIC, manages ITC’s rating products, including TurboRater and TurboRater for Websites. She has more than 20 years of property and casualty insurance experience, including owning her own agency and serving as president of the Alliance of Insurance Agents of Texas. She joined ITC in 2008.More Content by AnMarie Bozick, CIC