HBA-MSH, NRS C.S.H.B. 845 77(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.H.B. 845 By: Nixon, Joe Insurance 3/19/2001 Committee Report (Substituted) BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Prior to and during the Holocaust, insurance companies sold policies to individuals who subsequently became victims of the Holocaust. Many of these policies were lost or destroyed and still remain unpaid. Holocaust survivors and their heirs, successors, assignees, or beneficiaries have attempted to collect on these policies; however, the limitation period has expired. C.S.H.B. 845 allows an action to be brought against an insurer to recover on a claim arising out of an insurance policy issued to a Holocaust victim and provides penalties for insurers that deny a claim because of the age of the claim. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. ANALYSIS C.S.H.B. 845 amends the Insurance Code to authorize a Holocaust victim, or the heir, beneficiary, assignee, or successor of a Holocaust victim who resides in this state and has a claim arising out of an insurance policy purchased or in effect in Europe before 1946 that was delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed by an insurer to bring an action against an insurer engaged in the business of insurance in this state to recover on that claim in a court of competent jurisdiction in this state. "Holocaust victim" means a person who was killed or injured, or who lost real or personal property or financial assets as the result of discriminatory laws, policies, or actions directed against any discrete group of which the person was a member during the period of 1920 to 1945, inclusive, in Germany, areas occupied by Germany, or countries allied with Germany. The bill prohibits the dismissal of such an action for failure to comply with any applicable limitations period if the action is brought before December 31, 2012. Failure by an insurer to comply with such a claim by denying the claim on the grounds that it was not timely or by asserting a statute of limitations constitutes a violation. The bill authorizes the commissioner of insurance, after notice and hearing, to impose an administrative penalty or direct the insurer to make restitution, refer the matter to the attorney general, initiate an examination to determine the fitness of the insurer to continue to engage in the business of insurance in this state initiate a proceeding to suspend or revoke the insurer's certificate of authority, or pursue and other action the commissioner determines to be appropriate. These provisions expire January 1, 2013. EFFECTIVE DATE On passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act takes effect September 1, 2001. COMPARISON OF ORIGINAL TO SUBSTITUTE C.S.H.B. 845 adds provisions to the original relating to the penalties applicable to an insurer that denies a Holocaust era claim on the grounds that the claim is not timely or by asserting a statute of limitations. The substitute expands the definition of "insurer" to include any parent company, subsidiary, or affiliated company, at least 50 percent of the stock of which is in common ownership with an insurer engaged in the business of insurance in Texas. The substitute expands the definition of "insurance policy" to include reinsurance on a covered risk. The substitute adds an assignee or successor of a Holocaust victim to the list of those who are authorized to bring a claim against an insurer. The substitute specifies that the provisions expire in 2013, rather than 2011, as in the original. The substitute changes the time period within the definition of "Holocaust victim" from between 1929 and 1945 to between 1920 and 1945.