This website will be unavailable from Thursday, May 30, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. through Monday, June 3, 2024 at 7:00 a.m. due to data center maintenance.

 
 
  H.B. No. 2439
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to inspections and other activities conducted by engineers
  in connection with the issuance of certain windstorm and hail
  insurance; authorizing a fee.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  The heading to Section 2210.251, Insurance Code,
  is amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 2210.251.  PLAN OF OPERATION COMPLIANCE [INSPECTION]
  REQUIREMENTS.
         SECTION 2.  Sections 2210.251(a), (f), and (g), Insurance
  Code, are amended to read as follows:
         (a)  Except as provided by this section, to be considered
  insurable property eligible for windstorm and hail insurance
  coverage from the association, a structure that is constructed,
  altered, remodeled, enlarged, or repaired or to which additions are
  made on or after January 1, 1988, must comply [be inspected or
  approved by the department for compliance] with the plan of
  operation.
         (f)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this subchapter
  [section], insurance coverage for a residential structure may be
  issued or renewed through the association subject to the inspection
  requirements imposed under Section 2210.258, if applicable.  This
  subsection expires December 31, 2015.
         (g)  A [The department shall issue a] certificate of
  compliance issued by the department or association under Section
  2210.2515 demonstrates compliance with the applicable building
  code under the plan of operation [for each structure that qualifies
  for coverage].  The certificate is evidence of insurability of the
  structure by the association.  [The decision whether to issue a
  certificate of compliance for a structure is wholly within the
  discretion of the department and is not dependent on the actions of
  the Texas Board of Professional Engineers or any other regulatory
  agency.]
         SECTION 3.  Subchapter F, Chapter 2210, Insurance Code, is
  amended by adding Section 2210.2515 to read as follows:
         Sec. 2210.2515.  ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATES OF COMPLIANCE.
  (a) In this section:
               (1)  "Completed improvement" means:
                     (A)  an improvement in which the original transfer
  of title from the builder to the initial owner of the improvement
  has occurred; or
                     (B)  if a transfer under Paragraph (A) is not
  contemplated, an improvement that is substantially completed.
               (2)  "Improvement" means the construction of or repair,
  alteration, remodeling, or enlargement of a structure to which the
  plan of operation applies.
               (3)  "Ongoing improvement" means:
                     (A)  an improvement in which the original transfer
  of title from the builder to the initial owner of the improvement
  has not occurred; or
                     (B)  if a transfer under Paragraph (A) is not
  contemplated, an improvement that is not substantially completed.
         (b)  A person shall provide written notice on a form
  prescribed by and submitted to the department of the person's
  intent to construct, repair, alter, remodel, or enlarge a structure
  for which the person is seeking coverage under this chapter before
  the person begins to construct, repair, alter, remodel, or enlarge
  the structure.
         (c)  A person may apply to the association on a form
  prescribed by the department for a certificate of compliance for a
  completed improvement. The association shall issue a certificate
  of compliance for a completed improvement if a professional
  engineer licensed by the Texas Board of Professional Engineers:
               (1)  has designed the improvement, has affixed the
  engineer's seal on the design, and submits to the association on a
  form prescribed by the department an affirmation of compliance with
  the applicable building code under the plan of operation; or
               (2)  completes a sealed post-construction evaluation
  report that confirms compliance with the applicable building code
  under the plan of operation.
         (d)  A person may apply to the department on a form
  prescribed by the department for a certificate of compliance for an
  ongoing improvement. Except as provided by Subsection (e), the
  department shall issue a certificate of compliance for an ongoing
  improvement if a qualified inspector under Section 2210.254
  inspects the ongoing improvement in accordance with commissioner
  rule and affirms that the improvement:
               (1)  conforms to a design of the improvement that has a
  seal affixed by a professional engineer licensed by the Texas Board
  of Professional Engineers and complies with the applicable building
  code under the plan of operation; or
               (2)  complies with the applicable building code under
  the plan of operation.
         (e)  Except as otherwise provided by this subchapter, the
  department may not issue a certificate of compliance under
  Subsection (d) if within six months after the date of the final
  inspection of the structure that is the subject of the application,
  the department has not received:
               (1)  fully completed forms prescribed by the department
  demonstrating that the improvement satisfies the requirements
  under Subsection (d)(1) or (2); and
               (2)  payment in full of all inspection fees, including
  fees for prior department inspections, owed to the department.
         (f)  If the department determines not to issue a certificate
  of compliance under Subsection (e), a person may apply for a
  certificate of compliance under Subsection (c).
         (g)  The department may enter into contracts as necessary to
  implement this section.
         (h)  The department may charge a reasonable fee to cover the
  cost of making building requirements and inspection standards
  available to the public. The department shall charge a reasonable
  fee for each inspection of each structure under this section in an
  amount set by the commissioner.
         SECTION 4.  Section 2210.254(a), Insurance Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (a)  For purposes of this chapter, a "qualified inspector"
  includes:
               (1)  a person determined by the department to be
  qualified because of training or experience to perform building
  inspections;
               (2)  a licensed professional engineer [who is on the
  roster described by Section 1001.652, Occupations Code, and meets
  the requirements specified by commissioner rule for appointment to
  conduct windstorm inspections]; and
               (3)  an inspector who:
                     (A)  is certified by the International Code
  Council, the Building Officials and Code Administrators
  International, Inc., the International Conference of Building
  Officials, or the Southern Building Code Congress International,
  Inc.;
                     (B)  has certifications as a buildings inspector
  and coastal construction inspector; and
                     (C)  complies with other requirements specified
  by commissioner rule.
         SECTION 5.  Section 2210.2551, Insurance Code, is amended by
  amending Subsections (a) and (b) and adding Subsection (f) to read
  as follows:
         (a)  The department has exclusive authority over all matters
  relating to the appointment and oversight of qualified inspectors
  for purposes of this chapter and to the physical inspection of
  structures for the purposes of determining whether to issue a
  certificate of compliance under Section 2210.2515(d) [this
  chapter], including the submission of documents to the department
  or association regarding the physical inspection of structures.
         (b)  The commissioner by rule shall establish criteria to
  ensure that a person seeking appointment as a qualified inspector
  under this subchapter[, including an engineer seeking appointment
  under Section 2210.255,] possesses the knowledge, understanding,
  and professional competence to perform windstorm inspections for
  the issuance of a certificate of compliance under Section
  2210.2515(d) [under this chapter] and to comply with other
  requirements of this chapter.
         (f)  The commissioner may not adopt or enforce a rule that
  requires an engineer to affix the engineer's seal to an inspection
  form submitted under this subchapter.
         SECTION 6.  Section 2210.256(a-1), Insurance Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (a-1)  In addition to any other action authorized under this
  section, the commissioner ex parte may enter an emergency cease and
  desist order under Chapter 83 against a qualified inspector, or a
  person acting as a qualified inspector, if:
               (1)  the commissioner believes that:
                     (A)  the qualified inspector has:
                           (i)  through submitting or failing to submit
  to the department [sealed plans, designs, calculations, or other]
  substantiating information, failed to demonstrate that a structure
  or a portion of a structure subject to inspection is built to a
  design that conforms to the requirements described by Section
  2210.2515(d) [meets the requirements of this chapter and department
  rules]; or
                           (ii)  refused to comply with requirements
  imposed under this chapter or department rules; or
                     (B)  the person acting as a qualified inspector is
  acting without appointment as a qualified inspector under Section
  2210.254 [or 2210.255]; and
               (2)  the commissioner determines that the conduct
  described by Subdivision (1) is fraudulent or hazardous or creates
  an immediate danger to the public.
         SECTION 7.  Section 2210.258(b), Insurance Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (b)  Except as provided by Subsection (c), the association
  may not insure a structure described by Subsection (a) until[:
               [(1)     the structure has been inspected for compliance
  with the plan of operation in accordance with Section 2210.251(a);
  and
               [(2)]  a certificate of compliance has been issued for
  the structure in accordance with Section 2210.2515 [2210.251(g)].
         SECTION 8.  Section 83.002(c), Insurance Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (c)  This chapter also applies to:
               (1)  a person appointed as a qualified inspector under
  Section 2210.254 [or 2210.255]; and
               (2)  a person acting as a qualified inspector under
  Section 2210.254 [or 2210.255] without being appointed as a
  qualified inspector under either of those sections.
         SECTION 9.  The following laws are repealed:
               (1)  Sections 2210.251(c), (h), (i), (j), (k), (l), and
  (m), Insurance Code;
               (2)  Section 2210.255, Insurance Code;
               (3)  Sections 2210.2551(d) and (e), Insurance Code;
               (4)  Section 2210.256(f), Insurance Code; and
               (5)  Subchapter N, Chapter 1001, Occupations Code.
         SECTION 10.  The commissioner of insurance shall adopt rules
  to implement this Act not later than December 31, 2016.
         SECTION 11.  The changes in law made by this Act apply only
  to a Texas Windstorm Insurance Association policy delivered, issued
  for delivery, or renewed on or after January 1, 2017. An association
  policy delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed before January 1,
  2017, is governed by the law in effect immediately before the
  effective date of this Act, and that law is continued in effect for
  that purpose.
         SECTION 12.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2015.
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 2439 was passed by the House on April
  16, 2015, by the following vote:  Yeas 146, Nays 0, 2 present, not
  voting; and that the House concurred in Senate amendments to H.B.
  No. 2439 on May 28, 2015, by the following vote:  Yeas 146, Nays 1,
  2 present, not voting.
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 2439 was passed by the Senate, with
  amendments, on May 26, 2015, by the following vote:  Yeas 31, Nays
  0.
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate   
  APPROVED: __________________
                  Date       
   
           __________________
                Governor