Lawmakers Start Insurance Reform Bills, Homeowners Still Paying More

Two powerful lawmakers have put forth what they hope to be the solution to the state homeowners' insurance crisis. A series of bills would seek to rein in the industry from insurance rates to credit scoring.

Three neighbors in Palestine are with three different insurance companies.  They're all living three nightmares.

Donna Green: "If I was paying $400 and now I'm paying $700."

Charles Poston: "$405 to $720 now."

Glen Sellers: "$575 in 2002.  In 2003, the renewal on his house is $1,196."

They tell the tale from just the three homes on the end of a Palestine street. Donna's lived here the longest, 31 years.

"I elected to change insurance companies in June from Allstate because of the rates," she says.

Glen says insurance is out of control: "They have taken our spending money for necessities that we aren't going to afford anymore."

Two republican senators have put forth a package of bills. First, no more using credit scores to pick rates and coverage for clients. No "cherry picking," that's when insurance companies offer only the most profitable lines of insurance.  Under the new bills, folks won't be denied coverage just because of a previous water claim. And, the state must OK every company's rate.

Instead, as Glen says, the insurer just sticking it to him right now.

"The $600 increase that I have to pay Safeco is $600 that I cannot purchase a shirt, or a pair of slacks."

"If you have a mortgage, you have to have insurance," Donna says.

Charles is hopeful about change, but says he's not holding his breath.

"The politician is owned by the insurance companies, in my opinion, so you've got to be mad at both of them," he says.

But they all say, if Austin doesn't act, They will.

Glen says, "If you think there was a march on Washington, if something doesn't happen, there will be a march on Austin."

The legislature convenes in January 14.

Reported by: Morgan Palmer