In Texas, insurance is offered by the government and private organizations. Insurance offered by the federal and state governments include Medicare, Medicaid, and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). They are funded by taxes, and they serve national and state social and welfare purposes. Private insurance companies are funded by premiums. Premium is the money paid by a policyowner to an insurance company in exchange for providing insurance coverage. To determine premiums, an insurance company assesses the risk of the insurable object, the type of insurance, and the possible cost of any loss that may occur. Events or objects that have more potential risk of loss command higher premiums. For instance, the health insurance premium of a sick/older person will be higher than that of a healthy middle-aged person.
Insurance helps Texas residents effectively manage the risk of the unexpected challenges they face in life and business. Insurance companies have a vast and diversified impact on the Texas economy that affects every business and family in the state. There are various types of insurance available to residents of Texas, including life, health, home, automobile, and other types of property & casualty (P&C) coverages.
Texas residents can get these different types of insurance coverage through various means.
Life Insurance: Individual life insurance is best obtained from a knowledgeable agent with access to a large variety of products. Group life insurance can be gotten through a sponsoring organization, e.g. your place of employment. It covers the lives of the members of the group, e.g. the employees of the organization.
Health Insurance: Health insurance can be purchased through the following ways:
Through an employer. If an employee loses their job, they can stay on the plan through Continuation of Health Coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)
A person can buy a marketplace policy by researching it on their own
With the help of an assister in Texas - (keep in mind that the assisters cannot make recommendations on what plan to choose and why)
With the help of a trusted health insurance agent licensed in Texas - agents can help you assess your needs and make recommendations. This can be done through quotes online or contacting the agent in person. This service is free.
Directly from the insurance company
Senior care administered through government programs like Medicare, Medicaid.
Residential property insurance: A reputable P&C agent can help you obtain homeowners insurance. Homeowners insurance can also be purchased straight from an insurer.
Auto Insurance: Auto insurance can be gotten from a trusted P&C agent or broker. Contact can be made online, by telephone, or in person. You can also get auto insurance directly from an insurer. If you already have auto insurance running on your former car, you can contact the insurance company for a new coverage.
Commercial Insurance: A business can get in touch with a Texas-licensed P&C agent to get quotes and make recommendations.
Generally, the best option is to get insurance through a live agent. Most independent agents or brokers sell policies from different insurance companies. Hence, you can get information about the various coverages of these companies in Texas and choose the one that best works for you.
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) is the department in charge of overseeing the entire insurance industry in Texas. The department is also in charge of the Workers' Compensation System, the State Fire Marshal's office, and provides administrative assistance for the Office of Injured Employee Counsel. The Texas Attorney General's Office plays a key part in insurance consumer protection, particularly when it comes to insurance scams and unfair trade practices. The office files and investigates complaints from insureds and insurers. It also educates the public about insurance fraud warning signals. The Attorney General's Office has five regional offices in Dallas, El Paso, Houston, Pharr, and San Antonio.
Insurance is the process of transferring the risk of loss from an individual or a business organization to an insurance company, which then distributes the expenses of unexpected losses among many people. The cost of a loss would have been borne exclusively by the individual who suffered the loss if there was no insurance mechanism in place.
When you purchase insurance, you pay the insurance company what is called premiums. In exchange for a premium, the company covers you from certain risks. It agrees to pay for losses that arise from such risks. The basis of insurance is that risk-sharing or spreading among many people reduces risk overall.
Hence, an insurance company has many clients, who all pay premiums. However, the losses of each client occur at different times. When it does, the insurance company pays the agreed money for the loss.
An insurance claim is a request made by an insured person to an insurance company to pay for a loss covered by the insurance policy.
The cost of insurance is determined by the insurance company and it varies depending on various factors. The two most important factors for determining the cost of insurance are the type of insurance and the intervals for payment. The standard for evaluating premiums is different for each type of insurance. Also, payment of premiums annually costs less than monthly payments.
Insurance companies operating in Texas can afford to pay out claims through three main ways:
Investment income, and
For underwriting income, insurance firms make money every year by collecting more total premium dollars than they pay out in claims. The difference between how much money is collected on insurance policy premiums and how much money is paid out in insurance claims for those policies in any given period is known as underwriting income.
Also, insurance companies can afford to pay out claims through investment earnings from the premiums for their clients. The premiums paid for insurance policies are usually invested in financial or non-financial accounts to make profits. These investments include mutual funds, real property, transportation equipment, and bonds. Insurers tend to select assets with features that match the characteristics of the insurance products they sell. The proceeds from a long-term insurance contract, for example, would be invested in a long-term asset. The profits from the investments are what the insurance company uses to pay out claims.
In Texas, investments of insurance companies are regulated under Chapter 424 of the Texas Insurance Code. It establishes grounds for the investment of funds in excess of minimum capital and surplus and authorized investments. This regulation is motivated by the fact that if an insurer experiences more loss on invested assets, the insurer may not be able to pay claims. Since the state cannot guarantee the performance of investments, the least it can do is impose guardrails on investment activities to reduce risk.
The third method of how insurers can afford to pay out claims in Texas is through reinsurance companies. Reinsurance is essentially insurance for insurance companies. Reinsurance companies insure insurance companies against going bankrupt from massive claims and reimburse them if anything goes wrong. Since the idea behind insurance is the transfer of risk of loss, reinsurance is used to transfer some of the financial risks of insurance companies and risk pools to another insurance company.
Texas safeguards its resident policyowners in case their insurance company goes bankrupt and is unable to pay claims or debts. Each insurance company in Texas is a member of a guaranty association. Guaranty associations assist in the payment of policy claims if an insurance company fails or goes bankrupt. Members of a guaranty association fund it through assessments. All insurers in Texas are required to be members of the Association, and they make contributions to a fund that pays claims for insolvent insurers.
There are three main guaranty associations in Texas:
Texas Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association covers companies engaged in annuities, life insurance, and health insurance
Texas Property and Casualty Guaranty Association covers insurers engaged in auto insurance, homeowners insurance, and workers' compensation insurance
Texas Title Insurance Guaranty Association covers companies engaged in title insurance and escrow shortages
An insurance company credit rating is an independent agency's assessment of an insurance company's financial strength. The credit rating of an insurance company reflects its capacity to pay claims made by policyholders. It does not reflect the performance of the insurance company's securities for investors. Furthermore, a credit rating for an insurance company is an opinion, not a fact. Ratings for the same insurance company can differ among rating agencies.
There are five independent agencies that rate the financial strength of insurance companies. They are A.M. Best, Fitch, Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA), Moody's, and Standard & Poor's. Each one has its own rating scale, rating requirements, population of rated companies, and distribution of companies across its scale. To show minor differences in rating from another rating class, each agency utilizes numbers or plusses and minuses.
Generally, you should consider the rating of an insurance company before buying insurance because it shows their ability to pay claims, particularly in times of financial strain.
If you have ever wondered how do insurance companies make money; there are two main ways: through underwriting income and investment income.
Underwriting income: Underwriting, or charging a premium for taking on financial risk, accounts for a large amount of an insurer's revenue. Insurers employ actuaries to assess the financial risks of insuring various situations using statistics and mathematical models. Specific insurance plans can be designed and premiums set for each form of insurance plan once the financial risks have been assessed.
Investment income: Insurance companies make a lot of money from premiums. Until and unless an insurance claim is filed, the firms are not required to pay any money. As a result, insurers set aside a portion of the large sums of money generated by premium payments to assure that they will be able to pay any claims expected in the near future. The remaining funds are then invested. Investment income is typically much lower than underwriting income. Many insurers take a conservative investment approach, following state regulations.
While underwriting and investment income are the primary sources of income for insurance companies, they also have other revenue sources:
Cash Value Cancellations: Consumers with whole life insurance plans who realize they have thousands of dollars in "cash values" (created through investment and earnings from insurance company investments) sometimes desire to get the money out by canceling the account. Insurance firms are more than willing to comply, knowing full well that once a customer removes cash value money and closes the account, the insurer's liability ceases. The insurance company keeps all of the previously paid premiums, pays the customer with interest received on their investments, and keeps the remainder of the money. Cash value payouts are, in this sense, a financial boon for insurance firms.
Coverage Lapses: Consumers frequently forget to renew their insurance coverage, resulting in a beneficial scenario for the insurance company. A policy lapse occurs when an insurance policy expires without any claims being paid out, as defined by the policy contract. Insurance firms profit from this circumstance since all past premiums paid by the consumer are kept by the insurer, with no chance of a claim being paid.