USAA increases home insurance by 25%

February 5, 2020

I’ve been with USAA insurance for over 25 years. That ends today.

USAA claims to “support the troops” and to be loyal to those who served and their families. It’s hard to believe when you receive an increase of 25% after being a loyal customer who paid their premiums on time and had only 1 claim in 11 years.

Back in 2003 the great Republican Party reformed the insurance industry to allow more competition and remove those pesky restrictions set by the State. Insurance premiums have since skyrocketed. USAA took complete advantage of the reforms. (See below) My premiums have risen according to the chart below. After 2015 the premiums seemed to have stabilized. Looking for a competitive alternative was not easy and I eventually stayed with USAA not willing to risk a new company. It was easy to stay with USAA. So easy a caveman could do it. I did. That ends today.

I’m done with USAA. On the bright side they create a Subscriber Savings Account for every new member. After 25 years that account grew and I will be able to cash it out when I leave. It will fund a very nice trip to Italy.

Arrivederci USAA!

Year  Premium  Deductible Increase Notes
2000  $          783  $500 0.00% Before insurance became an issue
2001  $          862  $500 10.09% Removed mold, no decrease in premium
2002  $       1,060  $500 22.97% Became an election issue
 $       1,375  $500 29.72% Use of HO-A Policies
2004  $       1,589  $500 15.56% Removed Water, foundation and sewer  
2005  $       1,352  $500 -14.92% No change in policy
2006  $       1,363  $2,400 0.81% Deductible increased
2007  $       1,600  $2,400 17.39% Increased rebuild cost by 50% 
2008  $       1,900  $2,400 18.75% Tier II classification
2009  $       2,300  $2,400 21.05% No change in policy
2010  $       2,800  $4,800 21.74% Deductible increased
2011  $       2,973  $4,800 6.18% No change in policy
2012  $       3,296  $4,800 10.86% No change in policy
2013  $       3,296  $4,800 0.00% No change in policy
2014  $       3,800  $4,800 15.29% No change in policy
2015 $4,300 $5,200 13.15% Rate increase
$3,517 $4,700 449.17% Difference between 2000 and 2014

TX Congressman Pete Olson's pre-existing condition

October 23, 2018

Many Texans have a pre-existing condition including Congressman Pete Olson from Sugarland.

During one of the very few town hall meetings Pete has had with his constituents he discussed how he fainted during a workout in the Capital gym. According to CNN:

“While working out in the House gym, I got quite dizzy and fainted,” Olson said in the note sent Friday by his campaign committee. “After being rushed to George Washington University Hospital, it was determined that I had a condition called bradycardia, which is medical talk for a slow heart beat. Whatever they call it, it wasn’t good and I don’t recommend it.”

Unlike Pete, most Texans will find their insurance that covers pre-existing conditions will be cut allowing the insurance company to raise premiums or opt not to cover your family in your time of need. Lucky for Pete his insurance, provided by the Federal Government, and paid by tax dollars has always covered pre-existing conditions and will alway cover them.

Pete is working hard to relieve the insurance industry from having to cover pre-existing conditions in your family while knowing his slow heart beat will always be covered. He and his family will always be covered and protected but if the lawsuit Pete supports lead by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is successful you family will not.

Pete also suffers from a condition called “cold hearted”.

Blue Tarps over Texas. Senate Bill 10

March 3, 2017

The insurance industry wants to fool you. Again.

Back in 2003 the Texas Legislature created the Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC). You are probably wondering what this has to do with Senate Bill 10 and the insurance industry. I am glad you asked. SB10 sets up a long legal process homeowners must maneuver before an insurance company will pay a disputed claim as a result of a hail storm, hurricane, or other event. This process will take months to complete therefore requiring blue tarps to cover the roof of homes to prevent further damage. This long process is just like the State-sponsored Inspection and Dispute Resolution Process. (SIRP),  the shining star of the TRCC created in 2003. In 2008 the Texas Sunset Commission reviewed the results of the process and deemed it to be so worthless their report recommended the abolishment of the TRCC. The bill to save the Commission died in the Senate and the TRCC ended just 6 short years after its creation. From the Sunset Report:

This recommendation would abolish the Texas Residential Construction Commission as an independent agency and repeal the Texas Residential Construction Commission Act (TRCCA).

Now the insurance industry wants to force that very same process on homeowners who have had damage to their home that their insurance agency refuses to repair. What is the old saying? “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, same on me.” Hopefully the fooled can’t be fooled again.

No Place but Texas: A home and car tax cometh your way

December 19, 2014

Prior to the massive insurance reform of 2003 the Texas Windstorm Association (TWIA) covered about 6% of the coastal area and was working as it was designed in the 70’s. It might not have been perfect, but it was solvent and able to pay claims, until the Republican Party used it’s magic “Free Market” wand on it. Now everyone in the state, including you, may pay for it.

According to Seth Chandler of the University of Houston Law Center:

“We have less than half a billion dollars in the bank right now. TWIA thinks it can go borrow and get re-insurance and cover about another $3 billion, but I add three billion to a half billion and I get to $3.5 billion. I don’t get to anywhere near the five, 10, 15 billion that a major hit on the Texas coast could cost,” said Chandler.

In 2009 the Tea Party allowed TWIA to tax homeowners across the coastal area in order to cover a major event, no matter where that event took place. They also allowed the taxation of owners of car insurance. Now in the 2015 session they will ask to allow TWIA to tax everyone in the state to cover TWIA’s mismanagement.

State Insurance Representative (SIR) Larry Taylor (Teabagger Friendswood) led the charge to reform TWIA in 2003. Now he is leading the charge to tax Texas property and car owners claiming his district needs the protection because of their economic engine. Unfortunately it may be a hard sell since SIR Larry Taylor was the one that broke the system in the first place. His “free market” allowed his insurance buddies to flee the market, leaving his district with the only provider, TWIA, which is in serious financial trouble.

Lucky for Taylor, he owns an insurance company and makes money from selling TWIA contracts. He also pushed a bill to raise his own commissions from these sales. He isn’t hurting, but everyone in Texas will be soon.

I have so sympathy for those on the coast. They voted for this moron and he intends to make them pay for it and make money doing it. 

TWIA and the TRCC. The past failures return to TWIA

October 17, 2014

In 2003 the Texas Legislature caved to the home builders of Texas and created the Texas Residential Construction Commission. (TRCC) The Commission was supposedly designed to protect homeowners with construction defects  yet just 6 years later the Texas Sunset Commission called for its abolishment. From the Sunset Report:

This recommendation would abolish the Texas Residential Construction Commission as an independent agency and repeal the Texas Residential Construction Commission Act (TRCCA). 

The Commission was so flawed even lobbying by Bob Perry, the home builder and owner of the Republican Party at the time, could not save it. It died.

Unfortunately the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association has adopted one of the most worthless parts of the TRCC, the Alternative Dispute Resolution Process. This process which was advertised as the shining star of the TRCC requires homeowners to submit to a lengthy process of inspections, boards, and appeals before filing a suit in court. The supporters of this claim it will help homeowners get their homes fixed in a timely manner instead of having to get an attorney and file a suit. Here is the process defined in a report by TWIA

That is exactly what they said about the TRCC and it failed miserably. The process is complicated requiring the help of an attorney. The process is lengthy which will drag on the complaint, by design. And the consequences of not following the process could severely limit your settlement. Instead of demanding that TWIA pay claims, the Texas Teabaggers just simply made it harder for homeowners to sue.

At least they gave the homeowners the right to sell their Constitutional right to a trial by jury for a few dollars. Arbitration is the 21th Century version of snake oil. It is a private, secret, justice system that will require legal representation and additional costs to the homeowner. It is a suckers court. According to the new rules of TWIA:

TWIA may offer a premium discount or credit against a surcharge not to exceed 10 percent of the premium, if a person elects to purchase a binding arbitration endorsement.

So to save a few dollars homeowners can now get screwed twice. Nice.

Tonight: The Rising Cost of Home Insurance in the Bay Area

September 18, 2014

If you have nothing better to do but wonder why your home insurance premiums have skyrocketed over the last decade after insurance reforms of 2003, come on by for a discussion on the topic. From the Bay Area Association of Democratic Women:

The Rising Cost of Home Insurance is Focus of BAAD Women Meeting on Sept. 18 

“John Cobarruvias, a consumer activist in the areas of new home construction and home insurance, will be the featured speaker at the BAAD (Bay Area Association of Democratic) Women meeting on Thursday, September 18. He will share his experiences as an activist and discuss the high cost of home insurance in the Bay Area, the history of home insurance reform and the actions of the Texas Windstorm Association (TWIA).” 

It all happens at the Bay Area Community Center in Clear Lake Park, located at 5002 NASA Parkway (across the street from lake) in Seabrook. The meeting, which is free and open to the public, begins with light refreshments at 6:30 p.m. followed by the program at 7 p.m.

The Texas Department of Insurance Companies (T-DICS)

July 30, 2014

The Texas Department of Insurance should be renamed to the Texas Department of Insurance Companies (Texas-DICS). They department as a whole (not the individuals working there) are as impotent as the Texas Ethics Commission, unable to do the job they were designed to do in the first place, protect the consumer. From Paul Burka of Texas Monthly:

As for the question of whether TDI is an ally of the insurance industry or an ally of consumers, the facts speak for themselves.

Burka was talking specifically about the 75% rate hike for long term health insurance, a hike the DICS eagerly approved. Ever since Rick Perry’s insurance reform of 2003 property rates have skyrocketed especially along the coastal areas. Under the banner of “less regulation”, TDI can only watch as the industry continues to raise premiums and the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association continues to drown in debt. Much like the Texas Ethics Commission, they have become a paper tiger, a wet noodle, a worthless gathering of talented people willing, but unable, to do the work of the people. This is all by design.

Luckily for the insurance industry, most Texans are more concerned about their taxex going up $10/year than their mortgage going up $100/month due to a rise in home insurance. Texans tend to be easily distracted.

The Ike Dike Tax Hike

June 5, 2014

A $12Billion “Ike Dike” is being proposed by local businesses for the Galveston area. Guess who is going to pay for it? From KHOU:
According to the newly formed “Bay Area Coastal Protection Alliance” the Dike would cost taxpayers $6B, which in real world terms is about $12B and will be built within 2 years. (yea, right) There is no argument, hurricanes cause a tremendous amount of damage, but you have to wonder if a dike is needed in Galveston, then will we need one for the Port of Houston? And the Corpus area? New York? The State of Florida?

And who will pay for that? I think the Ike Dike Tax Hike Alliance is going to have a very difficult sell on their hands. I am sure if it is built all the savings the insurance industry will reap will flow down to the policy holders.

Texas new law requires coastal residents to bailout TWIA

June 2, 2014

This is almost funny.

After a decade of “reforms” of the insurance industry, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association is on the brink of financial ruin. Prior to 2003 TWIA covered only 6% of the coastal areas, a truly last resort insurance option. Today they cover over 70% becoming the only resort for most home owners. And now after massive failure, the Texas Legislature passed a bill that allows TWIA to pass a surcharge to those in the coastal areas to bail out TWIA. From the Brownsville Herald:

The updated rules provide for a surcharge on auto and property insurance policies to help pay for claims if TWIA reserves are exhausted and if the first level of “post-event” bonds issued aren’t sufficient to cover claims.

So after a decade of promises of lower rates, better coverage, and lower premiums, the people along the coast, who voted for the people who made these promises, are now going to be the people who pay for it. The only thing they have left is to laugh at themselves for being such incredible, gullible, fools and for doing nothing about it.

So if you want to blame someone, blame yourself. If you want to complain, contact your State Representative, John Davis. He will be retiring and paying his insurance bill with your tax dollars. Your State Senator, Larry Taylor, owns an insurance agency and sells TWIA policies. You will be bailing him out also.

It’s almost funny.

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