Chapter 552 encourages official to lean towards liberality in granting information requests because “it is the policy of this state that each person is entitled, unless otherwise expressly provided by law, at all times to complete information about the affairs of government and the official acts of public officials and employees. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.”
Regarding insurance policies, Subchapter A of the Insurance Code Chapter 2301 deems auto insurance policy forms to be public information: “Each filing made, and any supporting information filed, under this subchapter is open to public inspection as of the date of the filing.”
Although Texas Watch was established over 20 years ago, the organization got involved with the topic of quality collision repairs after the Seebachan lawsuit of 2017, and the group also worked extensively with the Houston Auto Body Association (HABA) and the Auto Body Association of Texas (ABAT) earlier this year in support of House Bill 1348, which intended to require proper compensation for OEM repair procedures by insurers.
Prevailing rate isn’t the only topic related to the collision repair industry that Texas Watch is currently monitoring and attempting to address. Wendell shared, “We just launched a petition to make it easy for folks to tell federal officials to preserve the 1963 consent decree that keeps auto insurers from gaming the collision repair process. The Department of Justice has proposed repealing it. That would be a disaster for consumers and a giveaway for the auto insurance industry.”
Wendell added, “You can send your letter by visiting texaswatch.org/form/autobodysafety. It only takes a minute. Be sure to tell your friends and family to take action as well. Insurance companies don't need even more power over our lives. In addition, we'll be taking up the fight again next legislative session for a bill that ensures quality parts are used to make quality repairs by a quality shop of your choice.”