Ask Regina

Q. Does an insurance company owe diminished value when settling a claim? regina


A. This issue was addressed in a Commissioner’s Bulletin in April 2000. It says:

“The position of the Department is that an insurer is not obligated to pay a first party claimant for diminished value when an automobile is completely repaired to its pre-damage condition. The language of the insurance policy does not require payment for, or refer to, diminished value.’

But that does not preclude recovery in a third-party claim. The bulletin goes on to state’

“An insurer also may be obligated to pay a third-party claimant for any loss of market value of the claimant’s automobile, regardless of the completeness of the repair, in a liability claim that the third-party claimant may have against a policyholder. Further, an insurer may be obligated to pay a first party claimant under the uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage provisions of the policy, for any loss of market value of the first party claimant’s automobile, regardless of the completeness of the repair.”

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2019 Legislative Update: Tracking the Bills that Matter to Your Business

It was a busy week at the Capitol for IIAT’s Government Affairs team. The House Insurance Committee met and there are a couple of notable updates.

SB 590, which is our Senate version of the Commercial Change Notification bill, was voted out of committee and is on the way to the House Local and Consent Calendar very soon.  This is the final step before final passage and going to Gov. Abbott to sign.

IIAT testified in opposition to HB 4557, which would have posed a number of requirements on agents and companies. The bill would have required a written and oral certification that the agent had explained the limitations of water damage in a residential property policy. Besides being very difficult to adhere to all of the requirements, the bill was limited to only water damage. Along with our industry friends, IIAT feels that we made the case that the bill, in its current form, was not workable. IIAT offered the bill author some suggestions to improve all notifications going contribute-to-impact_campaign-button-01.tmb-mediumto insureds.

SB 615, the TWIA Sunset bill, was heard last week in House Insurance Committee and the only opposition was from one engineering firm, regarding the change of oversight of engineers from TWIA back to TDI. We are hopeful that the bill will be voted out of committee next week and on to the full House for consideration.

SB 1264 by Sen. Hancock, known as the Surprise or Balance Billing bill, continues to move forward. Having passed the Senate, SB 1264 was referred to the House Insurance Committee where it was heard this past week. This bill, which is one we have supported each session, will take consumers out of the billing dispute, but allow for arbitration between the provider and the insurance company.

So far, all of our bills are moving through the process and we are cautiously confident that all will be passed and signed into law.



If you have any questions about other specific bills, please feel free to contact IIAT Governmental Affairs Director Lee Loftis at

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Sign-Up Now for the ELITExas Community Service Project

Join ELITExas young agents, IIAT staff and colleagues for an afternoon of community service and camaraderie benefiting Dallas CASA at the annual community service project held on the first day of Insurcon — Wed., June 19 at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine.

elitexasheader_email-blast.tmb-smallCASA Dallas

Wednesday, June 19, 2019 

Gaylord Texan | Grapevine
3:30 – 5:30 p.m.


Help build bikes & skateboard for Texas foster kids.


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Trusted Choice® Expands Distracted Driving Campaign

April is known for two very important things: rain showers and Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Every year, hundreds of people are injured or killed in accidents involving some form of distracted driving. To honor the annual awareness initiative, Trusted Choice® created a Distracted Driving Campaign full of digital elements that can help raise awareness about 2018_trustedchoice_displayads_texting_large-imgthis issue.

This year, Trusted Choice has expanded the campaign with new video and magazine content pieces that discuss the dangers of driving while smoking or eating, as well as driving while adjusting the radio.

Members can log in​ (this is your Big “I” log-in, not your one)with their Big “I” credentials to access and order new and existing campaign materials.

Direct any questions or suggestions for new content to Jeremy Flannagan.

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Wuthrich Named Executive Director of IIA Houston

The Independent Insurance Agents of Houston (IIAH) has named David Wuthrich as the group’s new executive director.

Wuthrich is a native Houstonian and has worked in the insurance industry for many years. Most recently, Wuthrich has been developing and implementing plans to drive growth in companies. In addition to owning his own consulting firm, he’s also worked at Cadence Bank, Marsh, JP Morgan, Chase and Chubb.

He has a strong history of serving as a volunteer leader in the Houston community. He has served on over a dozen boards, including Men of Distinction, Houston Aggie Medical Society, Houston Arts Alliance, Houston Symphony, Family Services of Greater Houston, March of Dimes and Texas Bowl.

Wuthrich takes over from former IIAH Executive Director Carole Shelton who retired from her position effective March 15th. Shelton had been with the organization for more than three decades.

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Polly Middlebrook Retiring

It is with mixed emotions but warm wishes that IIAT announces the retirement of Polly staff-page_circle-icons_polly.tmb-smallMiddlebrook, effective May 31.

For the past 16 years, Polly has played an important role in managing IIAT’s Advantage Markets, which are critical to “helping IIAT members succeed.”  She will continue to be available to service your Advantage program needs until the end of May.

Polly is excited to begin this new chapter in her life. She plans to stay busy volunteering and spending time with her family, especially with her granddaughter, Morgan. We all extend our best wishes to Polly as she takes a long and much-deserved vacation.

Marit Peters, IIAT Executive Director, has begun the search for a new Advantage Program Manager. Donna Biles, IIAT Advantage Markets Ambassador, will continue to be available to assist with your questions about Advantage Markets. You can reach Donna at or 512-992-8317.


IIAT Advantage offers eligible members standard admitted markets with competitive commissions.

Commercial Lines | Personal | Lines | Farm & Ranch | Workers’ Comp | Flood | Cyber
In-Home Business | Life & Benefits | Personal Umbrella | Mexico Auto


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Take Another Look: Revised Compensation Benchmarking Survey Shorter and Easier to Complete

Earlier this year, IIAT partnered with IntellAgents to launch a new Compensation Benchmarking Survey. The data collected in the survey will help IIAT agents learn how their compensation structures compare to other agencies with similar demographics.

Although IIAT frequently get requests for the information a detailed compensation survey will provide, we heard from many members that the survey was too difficult to complete and it asked for information they didn’t feel comfortable sharing.

We listened. We know that you still want the results of a comprehensive compensation benchmarking survey, so we revised the IIAT Compensation Benchmarking Survey to make it shorter and easier to complete. The new survey also does not require you to answer the more-detailed, sensitive, information. Additionally, there is a video that walks you through the survey to explain each question. Learn more.

risexpo-rgb_arrow.tmb-thumbnailWe hope you’ll join us on this journey!

Click Here to Take the Survey

We hope you’ll participate in the compensation study. The information you provide is confidential and the results will be reported in aggregate to maintain anonymity.

We need at least 400 agencies to participate for the results to be meaningful.

If you already completed the previous version of the survey, there is no need to complete the new one. Your information will still be used.

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Why is My Homeowners Insurance So Expensive?

Why is My Homeowners Insurance So Expensive? It’s a question we hear often from customers particularly when mortgage statements are received and the dreaded increase in the monthly payment becomes a reality.

A recent report by Insurify based upon 2016 data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners indicates that Texas has the second highest average home insurance premiums in the country. That study hints at one of the factors driving that number: Texas has had 352 federally declared disasters since 1953, by far the most in the country. And we average 134 confirmed tornadoes a year. Inclement weather in Texas includes tornadoes, hurricanes, hail, ice storms, flooding and wildfires. The only thing we lack is an active volcano.

But none of that resonates with a homeowner who has never had a claim and is facing another premium increase. Your best bet is to focus on rising values and increasing reconstruction costs. These are the consequences of a vibrant expanding economy, which is reflected in rising amounts of insurance for homes and personal property.

Point out to your customers that increasing values means rising equity in what, for many, is their largest single investment. In that context rising premiums are necessary to protect a growing asset, the equity in their home. And if that doesn’t work, blame global warming.


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Business Meeting Set for Fri., June 21, at Insurcon – Includes New Resolutions to IIAT Bylaws

IIAT’s annual business meeting will be held during the Awards & Business Meeting Brunch at Insurcon (formerly the annual conference & trade show) on June 21, 2019, 9:45 – 11:30 a.m. The special guest speaker at the brunch will be Cowboy great Roger Staubach.

The agenda includes proposed changes to the IIAT bylaws that would increase the size the Volunteer Development Committee, change the term limits for IIAT board members from three (3) years to two (2) years and provide for the possibility to serve a second term. View the current bylaws.




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Insurcon 2019 Preview: Kelly Donahue-Piro

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