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TITLE 28INSURANCE
PART 1TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE
CHAPTER 1GENERAL ADMINISTRATION
SUBCHAPTER ENOTICE OF TOLL-FREE TELEPHONE NUMBERS AND PROCEDURES FOR OBTAINING INFORMATION AND FILING COMPLAINTS
RULE §1.601Notice of Toll-Free Telephone Numbers and Information and Complaint Procedures

(a) Purpose and applicability.

  (1) The purpose of this section is to provide the means for insurers and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) to comply with the notice requirements of Insurance Code §521.103, concerning Information Included in Evidence of Coverage or Policy; §521.005, concerning Notice to Accompany Policy; and §521.056, concerning Information Bulletin to Accompany Policy. Compliance with this section is deemed compliance with these notice requirements.

  (2) The notice must be provided at the time of delivery with all policies, bonds, annuity contracts, certificates, or evidences of coverage that are delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed in Texas by insurers or HMOs. When insurers add a certificate holder, annuitant, or enrollee to a group policy or group plan, insurers must also provide the notice when the certificate, annuity contract, or evidence of coverage is delivered.

    (A) The notice must appear on a full, separate page with no text other than that provided in this section. The notice must be prominently placed in any package of documents it is delivered with, and it must be the first, second, or third page of the set of documents.

    (B) The form of the notice must be consistent with Figure: 28 TAC §1.601(a)(2)(B) and the requirements of subsection (b) of this section. The form of notice is not required to be filed with the department.

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    (C) The form of the notice for workers' compensation must be consistent with Figure: 28 TAC §1.601(a)(2)(C) and the requirements of subsection (b) of this section. The form of notice is not required to be filed with the department.

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(b) Notice requirements. The text may be single spaced, but it must include at least one blank line between each paragraph. The Spanish portion of the notice is required for personal automobile, homeowners, life, accident, and health policies, certificates, and evidences of coverage. The notice may include the letterhead of the insurer or HMO and any automated form identification numbers.

  (1) The notice must include a title and telephone number for the insurer or HMO. At its option, the insurer or HMO may provide the name and telephone number of an agent, third-party administrator, managing general agent, or employee benefits coordinator. The telephone number must be in bold type and be preceded and followed by one blank line. The insurer or HMO must provide a toll-free telephone number unless one of the exemptions in subparagraphs (A) - (C) of this paragraph applies. For purposes of this section, a toll-free telephone number is one that any covered person can use to get information or make a complaint without incurring long-distance calling expenses. An insurer or HMO is exempt from providing a toll-free number:

    (A) when the insurer's or HMO's gross initial premium receipts collected in Texas are less than $2 million a year;

    (B) with respect to fidelity, surety, or guaranty bonds; or

    (C) if it is a surplus lines insurer.

  (2) The notice must include a mailing address and email address for the insurer or HMO. The notice may include a company's URL address.

  (3) The notice must be in a font size no smaller than 10 point.

(c) Exceptions to maintenance of toll-free number. Any exception claimed under subsection (b)(1)(A) of this section must be based on gross initial premium receipts collected in Texas during the previous calendar year. This information and any other data that the company relied on to determine if it was entitled to an exception is subject to examination by the department. Failure by any insurer or HMO to maintain the information required in this paragraph, or failure to provide information to the department on request, constitutes grounds for enforcement action that may result in the cancellation, revocation, or suspension of the insurer's or HMO's certificate of authority. Any insurer or HMO claiming an exception must retain and provide to the department on request the following information:

  (1) the statutory basis for the exception; and

  (2) the amount of gross initial premium receipts collected in Texas for the calendar year immediately preceding the year for which an exception is claimed. The gross initial premium receipts collected may be documented either by:

    (A) the annual statement submitted by the insurer or HMO; or

    (B) records maintained for each new policy written during a calendar year that include the policy number, the effective date of the policy, and the amount of initial premium received, including any membership fees, assessments, dues, and any other considerations for that insurance.

(d) Providing notice. Insurers and HMOs will not need to refile previously approved policies, bonds, annuity contracts, certificates, or evidences of coverage, but they must provide the notice in the manner required by this section.

(e) Implementation date. Insurers and HMOs must begin using the notice form described in subsection (a)(2) of this section no later than May 1, 2020. Insurers and HMOs may continue using the previous notice form until that time.


Source Note: The provisions of this §1.601 adopted to be effective August 24, 1984, 9 TexReg 4340; amended to be effective June 12, 1990, 15 TexReg 3015; amended to be effective May 1, 1992, 17 TexReg 2776; amended to be effective October 28, 1992, 17 TexReg 7230; amended to be effective January 22, 2007, 32 TexReg 241; amended to be effective June 1, 2015, 40 TexReg 3174; amended to be effective November 4, 2019, 44 TexReg 6541

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