Texas Regulatory Update: Reporting on News and Issues for Texas Regulated Entities

 

Locke Lord QuickStudy: Texas Supreme Court Disallows Windfall in Personal Injury Protection Insurance Suit—Court looks to actual medical expense incurred, not full list rates

On March 27, 2020, the Texas Supreme Court, in Farmers Texas County Mutual Insurance Company v. Beasley, No. 18-0469, decided ‎whether “an injured plaintiff had standing to bring suit against his personal ‎injury protection (PIP) policy insurer after the insurer paid the incurred ‎medical expenses pursuant to the PIP policy, but the amount the PIP insurer ‎paid was the negotiated rate between the plaintiff’s health care insurer and the ‎medical providers—not the medical providers’ list rate.”

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Locke Lord QuickStudy: Federal and State Environmental Authorities Respond to COVID-19

Federal and State environmental agencies are modifying their usual compliance procedures, including ‎deadlines, to accommodate the various challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.‎ While a number of States initially indicated that they would exercise enforcement discretion, as  a ‎result of the pandemic, on March 26, 2020, the United States EPA (“EPA”) announced a ground ‎breaking temporary enforcement policy to address the pandemic’s effects.

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Locke Lord QuickStudy: Texas Supreme Court Answers Certified Question Regarding an Insurer’s Duty to Defend

In Richards v. State Farm Lloyds, — S.W.3d —, 2020 WL 1313782 (Tex. Mar. 20, 2020), the Texas Supreme Court answered a certified question from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals about the scope of an insurer’s duty to defend its insured against third-party claims. In determining whether an insurer has a duty to defend, Texas generally uses the “eight corners rule,” under which an insurer’s duty to defend is determined by comparing the claims alleged within the four corners of the petition with the coverage provided within the four corners of the policy.

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Texas Department of Insurance Announces Extension of Claims Handling Deadlines Due to COVID-19

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) has announced that the claims-handling deadlines imposed by Texas prompt-payment laws are extended by 15 days.  The extension will assist carriers in responding to the Coronavirus pandemic and results from the combined operation of actions taken by Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Insurance Commissioner Kent Sullivan.

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Governor Abbott Suspends Open Meetings Statutes to Mitigate Spread of COVID-19

Governor Greg Abbott granted the Office of the Attorney General’s request for suspension of ‎certain open-meeting statutes that require government officials and members of the public to be ‎physically present at a specified meeting location. The action was taken in order to mitigate the ‎spread of COVID-19 by avoiding meetings that bring people into large group settings.‎

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