The Texas Department of Insurance is circulating an informal working draft of a new rule on pet insurance that will classify pet insurance as inland marine insurance and allow insurers to sell it through individual or group policies.

The change would designate pet insurance as a non-regulated class of inland marine, meaning that rules, rates and forms would not be subject to filing requirements or uniform standards of application. Comments on the new proposal are due by 5 p.m. on Oct. 8.

TDI issued Commissioner’s Bulletin #B-0036-20, informing insurers and their agents that all regulated entities are responsible for the accuracy of the data used in rating, underwriting and claims handling, even if the data is provided by a third party. TDI warned that it may pursue enforcement action against an insurer if its use of inaccurate data harms policyholders. TDI encouraged insurers to provide policyholders with a way to review and correct data being used by the insurer. For questions about this bulletin, TDI provided the contact information for the Property and Casualty Actuarial Office, PCActuarial@tdi.texas.gov.

TDI’s Division of Workers’ Compensation has set the maximum weekly benefit rates for Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021 at $1,007, up from $971 for the prior 12 month period. The temporary income minimum wage benefit rose from $146 to $151 for the next 12 months. Benefit rates are based on the date of the injury. For a full table of all rates applicable since Jan. 1, 1991, visit TDI’s website.

On Sept. 1, TDI notified Texas workers’ comp system participants of a rule change that brings DWC rules in compliance with a law that went into effect Sept. 2019, authorizing death benefits payable for life to spouses of peace officers, regardless of remarriage. The new law applies only to an eligible spouse who remarries on or after Sept. 1, 2019.