A bulletin issued by the Texas Department of Insurance outlines actions the agency is taking to return to the ordinary course of business after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott rescinded suspensions of insurance-related statutes and rules issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The suspensions are rescinded as of Sept. 20, 2021.
Statutory Suspensions Lifted and TDI Action Taken
Telehealth and telemedicine: The governor originally suspended Texas Insurance Code Section 1455.004(c) to the extent necessary to require health benefit plans to provide coverage for a covered telemedicine medical service or a telehealth service provided through an audio-only phone consultation. All requirements of Section 1455.004 will resume on Sept. 20, 2021.
Prompt payment: The temporary extension of claim-handling deadlines, as outlined in Commissioner’s Bulletin B-0007-20, is canceled and superseded by this bulletin. As a result, an automatic extension of claim-handling deadlines will no longer be available for claims submitted to carriers on or after Sept. 20, 2021.
Continuing education: The temporary suspension of certain fees for Texas-licensed insurance agents, as outlined in Commissioner’s Bulletin B-0008-20, is canceled and superseded by this bulletin. Fines for not timely completing continuing education requirements resume on Sept. 20, 2021.
Licensing and fingerprinting: The temporary suspensions of certain licensing requirements, as outlined in Commissioner’s Bulletins B-0008-20, B-0009-20, and B-0014-20, are canceled and superseded by this bulletin. Fingerprints must be submitted with applications and filings that require them beginning Sept. 20, 2021. Those who submitted applications and filings before Sept. 20, 2021, without fingerprints must file fingerprints before approval will be granted unless TDI otherwise granted approval subject to certain conditions. Fire industry licensees who received a license without submitting fingerprints will need to submit fingerprints before license renewal.
The URAs and IROs that were certified without fingerprints will need to submit fingerprints before license renewal.Fingerprint locations are open. To avoid delays, applicants are encouraged to complete fingerprint requirements as soon as possible. Temporary licensing: The temporary suspensions of certain licensing requirements and fees for Texas-licensed insurance agents, as outlined in Commissioner’s Bulletin B-0008-20, are canceled and superseded by this bulletin. A temporary license issued before Sept. 1, 2021, will expire on Nov. 29, 2021. Those with a temporary license must submit fingerprints and complete the application process before their temporary license expires to avoid a gap in licensure. Under new statutory changes, temporary licenses issued on or after Sept. 1, 2021, are valid for 180 days.The normal fee of $150 will resume on Sept. 20, 2021.
Escrow checks and filings: Commissioner’s Bulletin B-0011-20 is canceled and superseded by this bulletin. Two signatures are required on all escrow checks as required by the Title Manual.
TDI continues to encourage insurers to work with policyholders for issues relating to disruption and hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.