HB 2102 and 2103: Awaiting Governor’s Approval
In a legislative victory for consumers and honest roofers across Texas, the State House and Senate passed HB 2102 and 2103 – bills that would clarify some vague wording that allowed contractors to jump through legal loopholes. Now the bills are on Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk, waiting for him to pass them into law. If given the governor’s approval, the new laws would go into effect in September 2019.
Here is a quick look at the contents of the bills, why they were so important, and what their passage would mean for homeowners and roofers in Texas.
What is HB 2102?
HB 2102 (Enforcement of Insurance Deductible Payments)
This bill deals with the shady practice of roofers offering to waive deductibles (often worth thousands of dollars) in order to lower their bid and undercut their competitors. This practice has long been considered illegal but remains rampant regardless. Honest roofers who follow the law find it impossible to compete with the “deductible eaters” in the industry.
In 1990, then-Attorney General Jim Mattox issued a nonbinding and, many believe, improper opinion that left a technical loophole. He stated that while roofers cannot advertise that they will pay or rebate a deductible, waiving a deductible is not a crime. This 29-year-old opinion has caused a lot of confusion and left a gray area where unscrupulous roofers offer to waive deductibles with impunity, even though doing so implicates the homeowner in breach of policy and insurance fraud.
HB 2102 aims to fix these problems by stating in no uncertain terms that deductibles must be paid. It would be a Class B misdemeanor if a roofer pays, waives, absorbs, rebates, credits, or otherwise declines to charge or collect a deductible. Insurance companies would have the right to request “reasonable proof” that the deductible had been paid before making a payment. If passed into law, the bill would level the playing field for honest roofers and ensure that homeowners wouldn’t be unknowingly involved in fraud.
The bill would also require new mandatory contract language, in a minimum 12-point bold font that states:
“Texas law requires a person insured under a property insurance policy to pay any deductible applicable to a claim made under the policy. It is a violation of Texas law for a seller of goods or services who reasonably expects to be paid wholly or partly from the proceeds of a property insurance claim to knowingly allow the insured person to fail to pay, or assist the insured person ’s failure to pay, the applicable insurance deductible.”
You can read the entire text of the bill here.
What is HB 2103?
HB 2103 proposes a revision that would strike the word “roofing” from previous HB 1183.
This bill seeks to amend the wording of an existing law that forbids contractors from acting as public adjusters for properties on which they are providing contracting services. Inexplicably, even though the law is meant to govern all contractors, the wording only specifies “roofing contractors”. The only proposed change to the law is the removal of the word “roofers”.
HB 2103 can be viewed here in its entirety.
What Comes Next?
Hopefully we will soon get legal clarification surrounding the waiving of deductibles in Texas. There has been a lot of misinformation floating around, with some roofers telling homeowners never to pay their deductibles. This is bad information and might soon be illegal. If a roofer ever approaches you and offers to pay your deductible in exchange for a winning bid, send them on their way and call Springtree Restoration.
Springtree Restoration: Honest Work by Honest Roofers
We believe that honesty, integrity and skill beat out shady shortcuts any day. That’s why we always treat our customers with the respect they deserve. You can count on us to give you total transparency all throughout the roofing project and to stay within the law with everything we do. Call us today for a free estimate!