September-October 2010

Oct. 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

In this issue:

  • Rising Cost of Homeowners Insurance
  • Early Voting/Election Day Update & Links
  • Women for Ellen Rally & Block Walk
  • Ellen Needs YOU!!!

Ellen on the Issues

Texans pay the highest homeowners insurance rates in the nation. Take a moment and let that sentence sink in. This begs the question—why? I hear from constituents asking this exact question—why do we have some of the highest insurance rates in the country? Let me share some background information.

In the past, the process for overseeing insurance companies in the state worked differently than it does today. Before 2003, the state insurance commissioner established rates and insurers had to seek approval for rates that were outside of a specified range. Despite a legal loophole that allowed 95% of the market to sidestep this approval, insurers began to lose money as a result of a massive upswing in claims for mold. Partly because of this increase, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) adopted a new rule that allowed insurers to dramatically reduce the coverage in the homeowner policies being offered.

The position of the insurance companies was that the reduction in coverage did not do enough to cover losses, and the industry lobbied for additional relief to lessen regulation. Senate Bill 14, passed in 2003, was a major overhaul of the property and casualty insurance market. Among other changes, this bill removed the rate approval requirement by the insurance commissioner altogether. This overhaul resulted in a significant decrease in coverage for the insured. The bottom line is that consumers are now paying more money for less coverage.

Homeowners insurance companies have little oversight in Texas. This, coupled with our high rates compared to other parts of the country, dictate a need for insurance reform. I will support legislation in the next session to require insurance companies to justify their rates and seek approval of rate increases. Rate increases should be submitted and approved by the Texas Department of Insurance. Further, I will support a bill that requires the Commissioner of Insurance to be elected by the public, not appointed by the Governor. Those paying insurance premiums should have their voices heard and this is one way it can be achieved. Insurance companies play a critical role in our state in offering protection for one of our most critical assets – our homes. I am confident we can create a solution that balances consumer protections with the needs of the insurance industry.

I look forward to addressing insurance reform in the next legislative session. I always welcome your feedback. If you have thoughts on insurance reform or other matters, please email me at ellen.cohen@house.state.tx.us.  As I prepare for the upcoming legislative session, your feedback is important.

Rep. Ellen Cohen

Vote Early! Early Voting Dates: October 18–October 29

As you may be aware, on August 27 a fire destroyed a warehouse that housed Harris County’s voting equipment. A plan was formulated and approved by the Harris County Commissioner’s Court that guarantees the County will have enough electronic voting equipment to allocate to all early voting locations as usual. The County is working to provide as many electronic voting machines as possible on Election Day, with paper ballots on hand as a backup. You are strongly encouraged to vote during Early Voting.

Remember, you can vote early at any location.

Ellen in the District

October 2010 Slideshow

October Slideshow: Check out photos from some of Ellen’s activities this month, including the Young Professionals for Ellen event, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and a Town Hall to discuss the State Board of Education (SBOE).

If you would like to invite Rep. Cohen to participate in an upcoming event, please e-mail us or call (713) 627-0134.

Campaign News

Women for Ellen Rally

On Saturday, Oct. 16 from 2:00–4:00 at Sherlock’s on W. Gray, join Mayor Annise Parker and Commissioner Sylvia Garcia along with Annie’s List, EMILY’s List, and other supporters for a rally to support Ellen. The Women for Ellen Rally is being held two days before early voting starts so come out and learn more about how you can Enlist, Educate, Energize, and Engage voters for Ellen. We are asking women to speak up, reach out, and ensure that a strong voice for women returns to Austin.

Enjoy complimentary drinks, snacks and music! RSVP today on our Facebook page! I hope you can attend — bring your husband, partner, daughter, sister, friends and colleagues! All ages are welcome, men too!

Women for Ellen Block Walk

The following weekend, on Saturday, October 23 at 9 a.m., we look forward to partnering once again with the Women for Ellen” Leadership Council, Annie’s List, and EMILY’s List for the Women for Ellen Block Walk. We will meet at our Campaign Office located at 1535 West Loop South, Suite 412. This is a great opportunity to reach out to voters one-on-one and connect with them about Ellen. Help us reach our goal to have 75 women block walking for Ellen! RSVP on our facebook page!

Calling All Volunteers! Ellen needs YOU!

Since the launch of the campaign, Team Cohen has knocked on over 6,500 doors, delivered over 1,700 yard signs, and held 50+ events all over the District. What is most impressive about these numbers is that we rely on our wonderful volunteer base to achieve these results. Over the final 4 weeks of the campaign, we will be knocking on even more doors and making thousands of phone calls to ensure that Ellen returns to Austin in January.

Please take a few quick moments to view and sign up for our current volunteer opportunities. Thank you for your support!

Important Election Dates & Links: