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2016 News Releases - Texas Department of Insurance

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December 21, 2016
Gainesville clinic owner pleads guilty to insurance fraud
A Gainesville clinic owner pled guilty to insurance fraud and was ordered to repay $1 million after an investigation by the Texas Department of Insurance found that he billed for chiropractic services without having a licensed chiropractor on staff.

December 13, 2016
Displaying fireworks for a group? You may need a permit
New Year’s Eve is known for parties, and it’s the second most popular times for fireworks. Did you know that a permit may be required for individuals or groups putting on a fireworks show attended by 50 people?

December 13, 2016
Texas insurance commissioner elected NAIC secretary-treasurer
Commissioner of Insurance David Mattax has been elected secretary-treasurer of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), which establishes standards and conducts peer reviews for insurance regulatory agencies across the nation.

November 09, 2016
Workers’ compensation rates in Texas among nation’s lowest
Texas has some of the nation’s most affordable workers’ compensation coverage, according to a 2016 study, which found that the Lone Star State had the 10th lowest rates among all states.

November 04, 2016
Injured employees have ready access to medical care, study shows
Injured workers in Texas have better access to physicians who can treat them more quickly than they did 15 years ago, according to a September 2016 study by the Texas Department of Insurance’s Research and Evaluation Group (REG). The study found 84 percent of injured workers received initial care in seven days or less in 2015, compared to 76 percent in 2000.

November 01, 2016
Two North Central Texas Companies Earn Safety Award
The Division of Workers’ Compensation recognized Shelton & Shelton Plumbing, LP in Killeen and Texas Hydraulics, Inc. in Temple for exemplary workplace safety programs and low rates of work-related injuries and illnesses. The Division presented the companies with the Division of Workers’ Compensation’s (DWC’s) Lone Star Safety Program Award.

October 28, 2016
Division of Workers’ Compensation Honors Two North Central Texas Businesses
The Division of Workers’ Compensation will visit Temple and Killeen on Tuesday, November 1, to honor local employers for exemplary workplace safety programs and low rates of injuries and illnesses at the companies’ facilities.

October 27, 2016
TDI Seeks Applicants for Texas Medical Liability Insurance Underwriting Association Board of Directors
The Texas Department of Insurance is accepting applications through November 30 for a public member position on the Texas Medical Liability Insurance Underwriting Association Board of Directors. The appointment term is for one year.

October 24, 2016
Division of Workers’ Compensation Centralizes Fraud Efforts
Since its establishment five months ago, the new in-house fraud unit at the Division of Workers’ Compensation has opened more than 40 investigations and hired additional fraud investigators to extend its reach.

October 17, 2016
Two steps to resolving some workers’ comp disputes
The Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation is taking a promising pilot program statewide to help simplify and speed resolution of some disputes.

October 17, 2016
Houston health clinic owner pleads guilty to insurance fraud
The owner of a Houston health clinic pled guilty to insurance fraud after billing for medical services – often provided to injured employees – despite having no licensed medical staff at the clinic. Instead, investigators found that the clinic was using foreign medical students to provide care.

October 14, 2016
Texas Department of Insurance fines Zenefits $550,000
The Texas Department of Insurance has fined YourPeople, Inc., more commonly known as Zenefits, $550,000 for using unlicensed staff to sell and administer insurance plans from 2014 through late 2015. Zenefits has since come into compliance with state law and is using staff licensed in Texas for insurance transactions in the state.

October 14, 2016
Regional Workplace Safety Summit November 15 in San Angelo
The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) will present a regional workplace safety workshop for employers and employees on November 15 at the Education Service Center Region 15, 612 South Irene Street in San Angelo. The workshop will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is $50 per person and includes coffee and snacks.

October 12, 2016
Regional Workplace Safety Summit November 9 in Corpus Christi
The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) will present a regional workplace safety workshop for employers and employees on November 9 at the Education Service Center, Region 2, 209 N. Water Street in Corpus Christi. The workshop will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is $50 per person and includes coffee and snacks.

October 04, 2016
Division of Workers’ Compensation Offers Educational Seminar for Medical Office Staff
The Division of Workers’ Compensation and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Small Business Development Center are offering an educational seminar, Texas Workers’ Compensation 101 for Medical Office Staff, at UTRGV CESS Bldg, Suite 1.200, 1407 E. Freddy Gonzalez Dr. in Edinburg on November 10. The seminar will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and registration is $60 per person with lunch provided.

September 29, 2016
DWC scanning millions of claim files for easier access
Every month, TDI’s Division of Workers’ Compensation receives hundreds of requests for records of workers’ compensation claims that can date back to the 1960s.

September 27, 2016
Two new arson dogs join state's team
Canine officers Mickey and Willie are the two latest additions to the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office. The recent arrival of the two specially trained and certified Belgian Malinois brings the elite canine team up to its full capacity of five.

September 22, 2016
Workers’ Compensation Weekly Benefit Rates Set for October 1, 2016, Through September 30, 2017
The workers’ compensation state average weekly wage for dates of injury from October 1, 2016, through September 30, 2017, is set at $912.69. The maximum weekly benefit rates for workers’ compensation income benefits is set at $913 and the minimum weekly benefit rate is set at $137 for that period.

September 21, 2016
TDI earns top ranking for consumer help
The Texas Department of Insurance offers the best online consumer assistance of any insurance department in the nation, according to an analysis by NerdWallet released this week.

September 13, 2016
TDI releases report on PPO out-of-network payments
The Texas Department of Insurance today released the results of a survey that looked at out-of-network payments by preferred provider organizations (PPOs) for certain services. The survey found that most plans comply with the state requirement to pay such claims “at the usual or customary charge for the service.”

September 07, 2016
Fraud Unit gets new tool to speed report processing
The Texas Department of Insurance’s Fraud Unit now has a new case management system that is speeding the processing of fraud reports and reducing paperwork.

September 01, 2016
Division of Workers’ Compensation Offers Educational Seminar for Medical Office Staff October 4 in Abilene
The Division of Workers’ Compensation and the Texas Tech University Small Business Development Center are offering an educational seminar, Texas Workers’ Compensation 101 for Medical Office Staff, at 749 Gateway St., Ste. 301 in Abilene on October 4, 2016. The seminar will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and registration is $35 per person with lunch provided.

August 31, 2016
TDI supports employees serving in military
When it’s time to serve their country, TDI employees get plenty of support on the work front. HR staff have made it a priority to help those who are leaving their jobs for short- and long-term assignments in the military. Those receiving the support say the agency’s efforts are above and beyond what’s to be expected when the change in status might create personnel headaches. And the military agrees.

August 23, 2016
Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office Lending a Hand to Louisiana
The Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office is sending teams to Louisiana in response to a request for help from a state recovering from severe flooding.

August 16, 2016
Tyler Company Recognized for Exemplary Safety Programs
The Division of Workers’ Compensation recognized East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind for exemplary workplace safety programs and low rates of work-related injuries and illnesses at its Tyler facility.

August 16, 2016
Texas Reduces Costs, Opioid Use With Closed Formulary
It’s no wonder other state workers’ compensation programs are looking to Texas for ideas on controlling drug costs. A recent analysis by researchers at the Texas Department of Insurance shows that the Texas pharmacy closed formulary is lowering costs and reducing the use of opioids.

August 01, 2016
Commissioner Mattax Reappoints Five to Texas FAIR Plan Governing Committee
AUSTIN – Commissioner of Insurance David Mattax has reappointed five members to serve on the Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan Governing Committee. The FAIR Plan provides residential property insurance in underserved areas where it’s not readily available through the private market.

July 28, 2016
Houston Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Insurance Fraud
Investigators with the Texas Department of Insurance, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Houston Police Department wrapped-up a multi-year investigation into a criminal organization that setup fake auto accidents and medical bills.

July 27, 2016
20th Annual Texas Safety Summit Coming to Austin
The Division of Workers’ Compensation hosts the 20th Annual Workplace Safety and Health Conference, the Texas Safety Summit, August 8-10 at Sheraton Austin at the Capitol, 701 East 11th St.

July 14, 2016
West Texas Company Recognized for Exemplary Safety Programs
The Division of Workers’ Compensation recognized Chaparral Industries for exemplary workplace safety programs and low rates of work-related injuries and illnesses at its Odessa facility. The division’s Director of Workplace Safety, Karen Puckett presented the company with the Lone Star Safety Program Award, a state designation for Texas employers with safety programs that can serve as models for other employers.

July 12, 2016
Regional Workplace Safety Summit August 23 in Edinburg
AUSTIN — The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) will present a regional workplace safety workshop for employers and employees on August 23 at the Region 1 Education Center, 1900 W. Schunior Street, Edinburg. The Edinburg Regional Safety Summit is one of several Regional Safety Summits offered by DWC around the state. The seminar will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is $50 per person and includes coffee and snacks.

July 01, 2016
Retired fire scene dogs find lifelong homes with handlers
The dogs that help State Fire Marshal’s Office handlers detect ignitable liquids at fire scenes also share a big part of the handlers’ off-duty lives. They show up in Christmas pictures and accept challenges to play tug-a-war from family members. They are fixtures on family road trips. And in a dog’s later years, the handler’s home often becomes the dog’s retirement refuge.

June 27, 2016
State Fire Marshal Urges Caution with Fireworks
For many of us, the Fourth of July just wouldn’t be complete without fireworks. State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy warns that people often forget that fireworks are explosives – potentially dangerous chemicals and combustibles that can cause fires and injure people.

June 21, 2016
Workers’ Compensation Conferences Coming to Austin, Dallas
AUSTIN — The Division of Workers’ Compensation presents the 2016 Workers’ Compensation Education Conference. The Austin conference happens September 19-20 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 6121 N. Interstate 35. The Dallas conference is October 24-25 at the Renaissance Dallas‐Richardson Hotel, 900 E. Lookout Drive.

June 16, 2016
Summer Grilling Tips
There’s nothing more Texan than burgers and barbecue on a summer day. Follow these tips to make sure your cookout is a safe one.

June 14, 2016
Lubbock Insurance Agent Arrested in Scam Targeting Elderly Clients
sInvestigators with the Texas Department of Insurance and the Lubbock Police Department are trying to determine if there are other victims of an annuity scam involving a Lubbock Insurance agent. Joseph Allen Gaines was arrested last month on charges that he kept clients’ money that was intended to be used to purchase annuities.

June 07, 2016
Regional Workplace Safety Summit July 12 in Waco
AUSTIN — The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) will present a regional workplace safety workshop for employers and employees on July 12 at the Holiday Inn Express, 5701 Legend Lake Pkwy, Waco. The Waco Regional Safety Summit is one of several Regional Safety Summits offered by DWC around the state. The seminar will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is $50 per person and includes coffee and snacks.

June 07, 2016
Division of Workers’ Compensation Offers Educational Seminar for Medical Office Staff July 13 in Corpus Christi
CORPUS CHRISTI — The Division of Workers’ Compensation and the Del Mar College Small Business Development Center (SBDC) are offering an educational seminar, Texas Workers’ Compensation 101 for Medical Office Staff, at The Center for Economic Development, 3209 S. Staples, Corpus Christi, Texas, on July 13, 2016. The seminar will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The registration fee is $40 per person with lunch provided.

May 31, 2016
Commissioner Mattax appoints three to Texas Property and Casualty Insurance Guaranty Association Board of Directors
AUSTIN – Insurance Commissioner David Mattax has appointed three members to serve on the board of directors of the Texas Property and Casualty Insurance Guaranty Association. The board oversees the association, which helps to protect Texans if a property and casualty insurer fails.

May 31, 2016
Regional Workplace Safety Summit June 28 in Austin
AUSTIN — The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) will present a regional workplace safety workshop for employers and employees on June 28 at the Holiday Inn Lady Bird Lake, 20 North IH 35, Austin. The Austin Regional Safety Summit is one of several Regional Safety Summits offered by DWC around the state. The seminar will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is $50 per person and includes coffee and snacks.

May 25, 2016
Division of Workers’ Compensation Opens Registration for Texas Safety Summit
AUSTIN, TX — The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) will host the 20th Annual Workplace Safety and Health Conference, the Texas Safety Summit August 8 - 10, 2016, at Sheraton Austin at the Capitol, located at 701 East 11th Street.

May 24, 2016
TDI Seeks Applications for Texas FAIR Plan Association Governing Committee
AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) is accepting applications for the board that governs the Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan, which provides residential property insurance in underserved areas where it’s not readily available through the private market.

May 24, 2016
Regional Workplace Safety Summit June 21 in Houston
AUSTIN — The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) will present a regional workplace safety workshop for employers and employees on June 21 at the University of Houston Small Business Development Center, 2302 Fannin Street, Suite 200, Houston. The Houston Regional Safety Summit is one of several Regional Safety Summits offered by DWC around the state. The seminar will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is $50 per person and includes coffee and snacks. The Regional Safety Summit features presentations that address safety issues commonly encountered in the workplace, including: • Occupational driving safety programs • Workplace violence prevention and personal security • Preventing sprains and strains • Safety orientation, safety inspections, and OSHA compliance update Employers and employees attending the Houston Regional Safety Summit will be able to choose the sessions that are most valuable to their industry and workplace. Participants can find full course descriptions and register for the Houston Regional Safety Summit online on the Texas Department of Insurance website at www.tdi.texas.gov/wc/safety/regional.html. For more information, contact DWC at (512) 804-4610 or safetytraining@tdi.texas.gov.

May 23, 2016
Houston Insurance Agent Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Fraud
HOUSTON – Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson announced the sentencing of Celia Castillo to 20 years in prison after a Texas Department of Insurance investigation uncovered an annuity scam in which she bilked almost a dozen elderly clients out of more than $3 million.

May 16, 2016
2016 Texas Safety Summit Call for Presenters
The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) is seeking presenters for its 20th Annual Safety and Health Conference, the Texas Safety Summit, which will be held August 8-10, 2016 in Austin. This conference is held in cooperation with the University of Texas at Arlington, Division for Enterprise Development Conference and Event Management (UT Arlington-CEM).

May 02, 2016
Regional Workplace Safety Summit May 24 in El Paso
summary of article

April 28, 2016
Beware of Buying Flood-Damaged Vehicles
AUSTIN -- There’s a reason why insurance companies usually declare flooded vehicles a total loss. Once an engine gets waterlogged, it’s almost impossible to ever make it right.

April 08, 2016
Regional Workplace Safety Summit May 10 in San Antonio
AUSTIN — The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) will present a regional workplace safety workshop for employers and employees on May 10 at the Region 20 Education Service Center, 1314 Hines, San Antonio. The San Antonio Regional Safety Summit is one of several Regional Safety Summits offered by DWC around the state. The seminar will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is $50 per person and includes coffee and snacks.

April 05, 2016
Commissioner Mattax appoints three to Surplus Lines Stamping Office Board of Directors
AUSTIN – Insurance Commissioner David Mattax has appointed three members to serve on the board of directors of the Surplus Lines Stamping Office for terms to expire December 31, 2018. The board reviews and evaluates the eligibility of surplus lines insurance contracts and insurers in Texas.

March 30, 2016
Commissioner Mattax appoints three to Texas Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association Board of Directors
AUSTIN – Insurance Commissioner David Mattax has appointed three members to serve on the board of directors of the Texas Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association. The board oversees the association, which helps to protect Texans if a life, accident or health insurer fails.

March 29, 2016
Division of Workers’ Compensation Offers Educational Seminar for Medical Office Staff May 12 in Amarillo
AUSTIN — The Division of Workers’ Compensation and the West Texas A&M Small Business Development Center are offering an educational seminar, Texas Workers’ Compensation 101 for Medical Office Staff, at The Amarillo Club – Sunburst Room Floor 30, 600 S. Tyler on May 12, 2016. The seminar will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The registration fee is $99 per person and includes a lunch buffet.

March 28, 2016
Compliance Seminars Offered for Restaurant Industry May 3 and 4 in Austin
AUSTIN — The Division of Workers’ Compensation and U.S. Department of Labor will present two seminars on May 3 and 4 in Austin to help the restaurant industry comply with labor laws and provide a safe workplace.

March 23, 2016
Commissioner Mattax appoints three to Texas Title Insurance Guaranty Association Board of Directors
AUSTIN – Insurance Commissioner David Mattax has appointed three members to serve on the board of directors of the Texas Title Insurance Guaranty Association. The board oversees the association, which helps protect Texans if a title insurance company fails.

March 21, 2016
TDI Seeks Employer Representative for Workers’ Comp Appeals Panel
AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Insurance is seeking an employer representative to serve on the Texas Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel.

March 21, 2016
Regional Workplace Safety Summit April 19 in Fort Worth
AUSTIN — The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) will present a regional workplace safety workshop for employers and employees April 19 at the Regional 11 Education Service Center, 1451 S. Cherry Lane in White Settlement. The Fort Worth Regional Safety Summit is one of several Regional Safety Summits offered by DWC around the state. The seminar will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is $50 per person and includes coffee and snacks.

March 02, 2016
Division of Workers’ Compensation Offers Educational Seminar for Medical Office Staff
AUSTIN — The Division of Workers’ Compensation and the University of Texas of the Permian Basin Small Business Development Center (UTPB-SBDC) are offering an educational seminar, Texas Workers’ Compensation 101 for Medical Office Staff, at the UTPB-SBDC, CEED Building, FM 1788 and Hwy 191 in Midland, Texas on April 5, 2016. The seminar will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The registration fee is $50.00 per person and includes a continental breakfast and lunch.

February 16, 2016
Commissioner Mattax Appoints Six to Texas FAIR Plan Governing Committee
AUSTIN – Commissioner of Insurance David Mattax recently made six appointments to the Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan Governing Committee. The FAIR plan provides residential property insurance in underserved areas where it’s not readily available through the private market.

February 09, 2016
TDI Seeks Applicants for Texas Medical Liability Insurance Underwriting Association Board of Directors
AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Insurance is accepting applications through March 11 for two public member positions on the Texas Medical Liability Insurance Underwriting Association Board of Directors. The appointment terms are for one year.

January 12, 2016
Commissioner Brannan Lowers Workers’ Compensation Maintenance Tax
AUSTIN, TX — Texas Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Ryan Brannan is lowering the maintenance tax rate paid on premiums collected by workers’ compensation insurance carriers for the third straight year.

January 08, 2016
TDI Sends Investigators to Deter Insurance Fraud after Storms
AUSTIN – Disasters like the outbreak of violent storms that struck North Texas last month can often be followed by a criminal element drawn to the area to take advantage of the situation. The Texas Department of Insurance has sent investigators to the area to help deter fraud, which can range from shoddy repairs to price gouging. In the worst cases, people offering services to storm victims may simply take their money and run.

January 07, 2016
TDI Seeks Professionals to Conduct Windstorm Model Peer Review
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) is seeking professionals to conduct a peer review of a model developed to determine causes of insured losses on the coast.



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