TIADA’s Legislative Agenda and Policy Efforts
One of the most critical functions of any trade association is ensuring its members' voices are heard by the government, and TIADA takes this responsibility seriously. Right now, TIADA is working towards putting together our final legislative agenda, meeting with other interested stakeholders, attending state agency hearings, and signing onto an important court brief. Below are a few recent policy efforts TIADA is working on this year.
Judicial BranchTIADA recently signed onto an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief written by attorney Marc E. Gravely of San Antonio and several other trade associations. A friend of the court brief allows an interested party to weigh in on litigation involving other parties without becoming a party to the litigation. When weighing in, the interested party responds to questions of law and not the underlying case facts. The matter TIADA is weighing in on is related to court pleadings, specifically who has the burden of proving an item is covered or not covered by an insurance policy. The case is as follows:
Case: Overstreet v. Allstate Veh. & Prop. Ins. Co.
Court: Certified question to Texas Supreme Court by U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit
Question at issue: Texas's concurrent causation doctrine instructs that "[w]hen covered and excluded perils combine to cause an injury, the insured must present some evidence affording the jury a reasonable basis on which to allocate the damage." That is, the insured must "segregate covered losses from non-covered losses."—Put more simply, does an insured person have to prove the cause is not excluded from the policy, or should the insurer have to prove that it is excluded?
Background: Harold Franklin Overstreet looked to file a claim with Allstate. Overstreet claims a leak was caused by a strong hailstorm that hit his neighborhood shortly after he purchased the policy. Allstate argues that almost all the roof damage was due to uncovered causes, namely a combination of wear and tear and earlier hailstorms that hit the roof before Overstreet purchased the policy. The district court granted summary judgment to Allstate because Overstreet did not prove what damages were solely attributable to the covered storm.
TIADA's position: An insured person should have to prove that a loss is not caused by an exclusion of the policy and instead it is up to the insurer to prove that the exclusion applies.
Reason for position: There are too many instances where insurance companies look to exclude claims from coverage.
Legislative BranchTIADA is busy meeting with various stakeholders about legislation it supports and legislation that is likely to be introduced that it had issues with in past legislative sessions. For example, TIADA recently met with a large automobile group and the Texas Automobile Dealers Association to discuss legislation that is likely to be introduced.
State AgenciesTIADA frequently attends the Finance Commission meetings (OCCC is part of this meeting) and TxDMV Board Meetings. The most recent meeting was a TxDMV Board Meeting on August 11th. There we had a chance to visit with TxDMV staff and learn more about their plans to update the vehicle titling system and listen about the new digital plates that will be available to businesses in the future. TxDMV also mentioned their recent presentations and attendance at TIADA's Conference.
Executive BranchRecently, TIADA spent some time visiting with Blake Calvert, who works as the budget and policy advisor of Governor Greg Abbott, during the most recent TxDMV board meeting. Blake also recently attended TIADA's Conference. TIADA regularly discusses our industry with the Governor's Office.
If you want to amplify our efforts, we suggest you stay engaged and donate to INDEPAC. If every member donates just $20 today, we can reach our goal of raising $100,000 this year, which is an amount that gets people to notice your association as a strong advocate for your industry. Please donate now by clicking here.