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Sec. 550.001. SOLICITATION OR COLLECTION OF CERTAIN PAYMENTS. (a) An insurer or an insurer's agent or sponsoring organization may not solicit or collect, in connection with an application for insurance or the issuance of a policy, a payment other than:

(1) a premium;

(2) a tax;

(3) a finance charge;

(4) a policy fee;

(5) an agent fee;

(6) a service fee, including a charge for costs described by Section 4005.003;

(7) an inspection fee; or

(8) membership dues in a sponsoring organization.

(b) The commissioner by rule shall permit a sponsoring organization to solicit a voluntary contribution with a membership renewal solicitation if the membership renewal solicitation is separate from an insurance billing.

(c) Except as otherwise provided by statute, an insurer may require that membership dues in its sponsoring organization be paid as a condition for issuance or renewal of an insurance policy.

(d) Criminal penalties for a violation of this section are the same as criminal penalties provided for a violation under Subchapter K, Chapter 823.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1274, Sec. 2, eff. April 1, 2005.

Sec. 550.002. INCREASE IN CERTAIN PREMIUM PAYMENTS. (a) In this section:

(1) "Account" means a person's account in a financial institution.

(2) "Financial institution" means a state or national bank, a state or federal savings and loan association or corporation, or a state or federal credit union.

(3) "Insurer" means a person or entity engaged in the business of insurance in this state as described by Chapter 101. The term includes a person or entity engaged in the business of surplus lines insurance in this state.

(4) "Person" means an insured, a policy or certificate holder, or an owner of an insurance policy or certificate.

(b) An insurer receiving automatic premium payments through withdrawal of funds from a person's account, including an escrow account, as authorized by that person to pay premiums on insurance coverage provided through that insurer, may not increase the amount of funds to be withdrawn from the account to pay premiums on that coverage unless the insurer, not later than the 30th day before the effective date of the increase in the premium payment amount, notifies the person of the increase by mailing a notice through the United States Postal Service.

(b-1) The notice must include the insurer's toll-free telephone number, mailing address, and electronic mail address, if applicable, through which the person may object to the increase described by Subsection (b). An objection made by the policyholder through a telephone call, mail, or electronic mail constitutes a valid objection for purposes of this section.

(b-2) The insurer may increase the amount of funds to be withdrawn from the account only if the insurer does not receive a valid objection to the increase on or before the fifth day before the date on which the increase is scheduled to take effect.

(c) This section does not require an insurer to notify a person of an increase in a premium payment amount if:

(1) the insurance contract or certificate:

(A) when issued contains a schedule of increasing premiums;

(B) expressly specifies the exact amount of each premium; and

(C) specifies the period for which each premium is payable; or

(2) the increase is the result of a change ordered by the insured.

(d) This section does not apply to an increase in a premium payment that is less than $10 or 10 percent of the previous amount per month.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1274, Sec. 2, eff. April 1, 2005.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1167 (H.B. 3221), Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009.