The Surplus Lines Stamping Office of Texas is now nearly 30 months into collecting policy limits as part of the required data entry by surplus lines agents filing policies with the office. Compliance with the requirement got off to a slow start, with about 77.7 percent of all filings including policy limits by the end of 2019. By May 2021, compliance with the regulation to submit coverage limits was much higher.
Cheyenne Herrera, SLTX director of operations, reported that 97 percent of items filed in May included coverage limits.
So far, said SLTX Executive Director Greg Brandon, there has been no determination as to how this data will be analyzed. “We’re waiting for direction from TDI,” he said.
Brandon said that reports thus far to TDI have dealt only with statistical compliance by filers. He added that TDI receives only aggregate policy data from the stamping office and does not have access to the stamping office’s information systems.
A spokesperson for TDI confirmed that the department receives only aggregate data and not policy specific information. He added, “There isn’t enough data at this point to draw conclusions. The rule was effective Dec. 31, 2018, and we agreed to allow for an implementation period for agents to adjust their systems to report the data. And the second year of data is impacted by the pandemic.”
When asked how the pandemic affected the data, TDI’s spokesperson reiterated, “We have data from a partial year and a pandemic year. Neither provides a useful baseline for analysis.”
Security of the data is the responsibility of the stamping office, said TDI.
Brandon said that Caller ID, which SLTX has, is only the first checkpoint for policy analysts who may receive phone calls about policy specific data. SLTX staff is trained not to give out policy information on the phone without further verification that they are talking to a filing agent, said Brandon.
The next check, said Herrera, is to ask the caller for a User ID. Someone who knows the User ID for his or her agency would have no reason to call, added Herrera, as any information that could be given is already available to the user online. “They can see their input,” she said.
“Analysts who receive highly suspicious calls push them up to higher authorities (at SLTX),” said Herrera. She added that no information would be mailed to any attorney, as information would be mailed only to the licensee’s address that is on file at TDI.
Attorneys seeking information on an insured by name are asked to file a formal, written public record request, said Herrera. The response to such requests from SLTX has been that policy information is protected from public release, but that SLTX’s general counsel would contact the attorney general’s office for further review and opinion on the release of the information, if needed. At that point, lawyers generally drop their request for the information, said Herrera.
Herrera said that SLTX maintains secure firewalls, protecting the data from intrusion. She added that no filer has access to another filer’s information.