NU Online News Service, Dec. 10, 2:37 p.m. – The Texas Department of Insurance wants to streamline its system for reviewing policy forms, certificates, riders, amendments and endorsements for life insurance, accident and health insurance, and annuities.

The department has proposed a new regulation that would let insurers file forms electronically through the System for Electronic Rate and Form Filing, a system developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo.

The proposed regulation would also give the Texas department the ability to notify insurers of department decisions by letter, rather than by stamping duplicate copies of forms. That would eliminate the need for filing duplicate copies of forms, the department says.

Today, the Texas department offers regular, general and expedited review processes. The proposed regulation would simplify matters by combining the processes into one filing process, the department says.

The proposal keeps some filing requirements that protect consumer interests. One section, for example, requires that if, during any 12-month period, the cumulative increase in premium rates is at least 50%, the insurer must present information to demonstrate the need for the rate increase.

Filing fees would increase to $100, from $50, for rates filed separately from a policy or contract that are subject to review by the department. The fees for reviewing other rates is already $100, the department notes.

The fee for forms within a “matrix filing” would be $50 per form, up to a maximum of $500 for the entire matrix filing. A matrix filing is a filing that contains provisions a company can use to create more than one policy. In the past, Texas regulations have not discussed the fees for matrix filings, the department says.

The text of the proposed regulation is available at http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/commish/rules/1125a.059.html