The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) has announced that notices of non-compliance will be sent to owners of uninsured vehicles as early as Spring 2010. The message will give a warning to those driving uninsured – the situation must be corrected immediately. The notice will list the possible fines for driving without insurance and inform repeat offenders that their driving privileges will be suspended.
The non-compliance notices are issued as part of the TexasSure Uninsured Motorists Verification program adopted by the 79th Legislature. The law requires insurers to submit their active policyholder information to the state, which in turn matches the vehicle identification numbers (VIN) submitted with the VINs in the registered vehicle database at TxDMV. Of the VIN numbers submitted by insurers, 99 percent were successfully linked to the vehicle registration database.
One in four is uninsured
While TDI will not release specific statistics, it is estimated that at least one in four vehicles on Texas roads are currently uninsured. In June 2008, access to the TexasSure program was granted to DPS officials and all 254 county tax offices. The program was an immediate hit. “Motorists have overwhelmingly embraced the TexasSure database, especially given the 99 percent success rate of matching vehicles with their insurance coverage,” said Rebecca Davio, TxDMV’s Director of Vehicle Titles and Registration. “It’s proving to be a great resource for identifying people without insurance.” Notices are currently being sent to the 1% of policyholders whose insurer has reported coverage, but their VIN number could not be linked to a current vehicle registration.
Continuous monitoring of uninsured vehicles
“Both the insurance agents and citizens of Texas have waited a long time for this time.” says Christine Huddleston, president of the Alliance of Insurance Agents of Texas (AIAT). The AIAT was instrumental in the approval and implementation of the TexasSure program.
Law enforcement officials across our state have praised the system and appreciate the ability to verify that a vehicle is insured just by running their license plate. However, it has always been our top priority to prevent the uninsured from getting behind the wheel in the first place. These announcements will serve as a proactive approach to reducing the number of uninsured drivers and we commend the TDI for all their efforts to get us there.
TDI advised auto insurers that non-compliance notices will begin in Spring 2010. All registered vehicles will be continuously tracked to verify their insured status. After a vehicle has been identified as uninsured for nine (9) consecutive weeks, a letter of non-compliance will be sent to the registered owner.
Insurance agents, are you ready to tackle the new business?
“Agents need to be prepared. It’s going to be the 1980s again.” said Mary Ann Hooten, Territory Manager for GAINSCO Auto Insurance. Mary Ann worked for an insurance company in 1982 when the mandatory insurance law was first enacted in Texas. “Our phones were ringing until midnight every night. We had to turn off the phones at night, even if they were ringing, because we simply couldn’t handle any more business.”
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