Insurance companies have been playing the politics game for decades. In order to control the direction insurance regulation moves in, companies will donate large sums of money to legislators they know they can sway. Texas State Senator Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) was no exception to this sly scheme.
Sen. Hancock came to office in 2012 funded by sizable donations and has received a whopping total of $209,150 from more than 20 insurance companies over the course of his political career. In 2013, he drafted and proposed a bill that would shut down the Texas Office of Public Insurance Counsel (OPIC), a state organization that protects the public from insurance fraud and exploitation. Hancock claimed his purpose for closing the agency was to save taxpayer money, but the State of Texas Annual Cash Report in 2012 shows that the OPIC was only spending $878,074 in comparison to their $2.28 million in revenue.
Pushing to close a state government agency that had previously exercised regulations on insurance companies such as Liberty Mutual, State Farm, and Allstate was an obvious move by Hancock to repay his generous donors in the insurance industry. For this exchange, Hancock caught the attention of the public, and was listed as one of Texas Monthly’s Worst Legislators.
Hancock didn’t stop there. He also went after the OPIC’s Public Counsel, Deeia Beck, by accusing her of blowing off a meeting between them and implying that she was irresponsible for doing so. Beck refuted that there was never an appointment scheduled. Beck even proposed taking a polygraph test, suggesting Hancock lied about the meeting to create a false basis to remove her as head of the agency. Hancock’s accusation came only a few days after Beck prohibited State Farm from significantly increasing their insurance rate by 20 percent.
Hancock’s lies and disingenuous actions prove that he can be bought and will jump through hoops for anyone who will throw him a buck.