Agent Frequently Asked Questions
What is a post-event premium surcharge?
After a hurricane, TWIA will use its existing funding to pay claims. If the hurricane (or a series of storms) is large enough, and the first levels of funding are used, TWIA may issue public securities in order to pay for losses. The law establishes this layer of funding and specifies that the public securities may be repaid by surcharges on all TWIA policies. In other words, these premium surcharges are “post-event” and would only occur after: (1) a major storm(s); (2) TWIA uses its first layers of funding; (3) TWIA issues public securities; and (4) the Commissioner of Insurance determines surcharges are necessary to repay the public securities.
Why does the TWIA residential and commercial policy and declarations page now mention the premium surcharge?
TWIA updated its policy language and declarations page for residential and commercial policies in order to comply with loss funding rules adopted by the Texas Department of Insurance in February 2016. While the possibility of a premium surcharge is not new, the requirement that policyholders be notified in this specific manner is.
When is a post-event premium surcharge happening?
No surcharge is being imposed at this time. Premium surcharges will only take effect after a major event(s), if TWIA losses exceed $1.2 billion dollars for the year, and the surcharge is approved by the Texas Insurance Commissioner. The only change that has taken place at this time is the addition of policy language and a new declarations page for residential and commercial policies to comply with Texas Department of Insurance rules and notify policyholders of the possibility of surcharges in the future.
What policies will be affected by the premium post-event surcharge?
If a post-event surcharge is approved by the Texas Insurance Commissioner, it will affect all TWIA commercial and residential policies in-force. The post-event surcharge could happen at any point during a policy as decided and approved by the Texas Insurance Commissioner through loss funding rules adopted by the Texas Department of Insurance.
How will the post-event surcharge be calculated for my clients’ policies?
The post-event surcharge will be a percentage of a policy’s premium, as determined by the Texas Insurance Commissioner. As a reminder, policies are only sent to policyholders and they will begin receiving the new policy language by mail. If agents would like to review the updated language, they may do so here.
How do I register for Agent Portal?
To start the registration process, complete this form. Once you complete the form you will receive an email with the next steps in the registration process.
I can't log in.
Did you register (sign-up) your agency? If you did register, here are some common problems & solutions:
- Confirm your user name/password combination. Make sure you are using the TDI number that the agency was registered (with Agent Portal) under, not your own personal TDI number (unless you registered individually, and would like to create quotes/apps under your own book of business). Make sure the password is correct. If more than one person is logging into Agent Portal with the same user name, there can be problems when one person requests a new password or changes the password without telling others. Check with others in your office FIRST, before calling TWIA, to see if this is the case!
- Check your user name and TDI number. Do this by following the "New User" link on the login page. When you enter your TDI number, the system should recognize that you've already registered, and will show you the TDI number, user name, and e-mail address that you gave us. If those don't appear, then you haven't registered for Agent Portal.
If all these steps fail, then repeat step three above—request a new password-and wait an hour before logging in. In rare cases, the system will take longer to process changes to user names and passwords. In most cases, you should be able to log in after an hour.
I logged in, but can't see any menus or navigational links.
The system has not refreshed your user information properly. Wait a full 24 hours, and login again. That should solve the problem.
I forgot my username.
Click this link and enter your TDI number, the system should recognize that you've already registered, and will show you the TDI number, user name, and e-mail address that you gave us.
I'm not receiving the e-mailed passwords.
- Your ISP, or network e-mail provider, could be blocking TWIA e-mail. This is most likely the reason you are not receiving our e-mail. Companies that commonly block our e-mail, usually by IP address, include:
- State Farm
- Farmer's Insurance
- NOTE: It does not matter if you have received e-mail from Agent Portal in the past; these filters can be applied at any time, and TWIA has NO control over them. You must contact these companies to "unblock" e-mail from TWIA. If they ask, you may tell them that the e-mail will come from the following IP address and mail server:
IP address = 220.127.116.11 = mail.twia.org
Passwords come from [email protected]
PDF applications come from [email protected]
Your desktop e-mail account or program has "junk mail" filters, and deleted the e-mail.
This happens because the e-mail from Agent Portal is automated, it may look like spam. Check your junk mail, spam and deleted mail (trash) folders, to see if there is anything there from the above e-mail addresses.
I tried all this, but none of it worked. What now?
Contact Agent Services and ask them to change your e-mail address to one that you know works, and that you can access. All your new e-mails from Agent Portal will then go to this new address, instead of the old one.
Can't you just send me a password?
Unfortunately not. TWIA's Agent Portal is designed to be a self-service system, so there is no mechanism for either your underwriter or the IT department to "manually override" the system and send you a password.
My password expired.
As it will every 60 days. We do this for security purposes to protect our agents. If you get locked out by an expired password, simply click the "Forgotten or expired password?" link on the login page. Enter your email address and a new password will be emailed to you.
Why doesn't Agent Portal recognize my TDI info?
It could be one of several reasons:
- You may not have entered your information exactly as TDI has it listed on their website. Usually this matches the license, but not always (see #3 below).
- If you're a new agent, there is a lag time between TDI's processing and our updates from TDI.
- TDI's website info sometimes does not exactly match what's on the agent's license (i.e., "Bob Smith" vs. "Bob Smith, Jr.", etc.). Use the TDI website info rather than the printed license info.
- You may be using the wrong license. If you've got more than one license with TDI, double-check your listing information.
- Your license number may have changed. TDI changed license formats circa 2001, and many license numbers changed. Make sure you're not using the old number.
What is a 'Primary Contact'?
The Primary Contact is the first person in your agency to register. For Agent Portal purposes, they have full authority to make any changes to your Agent Portal settings. We STRONGLY recommend that the Primary Contact be the named license holder for your agency. The Primary Contact can create other users, some of whom can be "Administrators". Admins can then create new users, delete users and modify other users' info (except that of the Primary Contact). Non-admin users can only modify their own information.
Our Primary Contact person left, and I can't log in. What now?
This is why you should only have the licensed agent of record be the Primary Contact. Contact TWIA Agent Services and request a change of name and e-mail address for the Primary Contact. This contact should only be changed to the Agent of Record, who can then set up other admin users to handle the day-to-day administration if desired.
How do I change the Primary Contact info?
If you are logged in as the Primary Contact, you may change the first name, last name and password of the Primary Contact under the "User" menu. You must contact Agent Services to change other Primary Contact info, such as address, agency name or username. ONLY THE PRIMARY CONTACT CAN REQUEST THIS CHANGE. IMPORTANT: This is why the Primary Contact should NEVER be anyone but the licensed agent of record for your agency! Even if that person doesn't use or administer the system day-to-day, he or she should have a copy of the information used to register their agency. See also Change Profile.
The screen says, "Your profile has changed."
This could be because we have changed your profile, either at the request of your agency, yourself or for security reasons (as when you request a new password). You should still be able to log in with the last username/password combination that you've been given. If not, contact your agency's TWIA Web administrator, or TWIA Agent Services.
Can the whole agency share one user name and password?
Yes, but we DON'T recommend it. We highly recommend that the Primary Contact be the licensed agent of record for the agency, and that everyone be given his or her own user name (click here to learn how to do this). If not, people may change passwords or modify quotes/apps without other users' knowledge, leading to confusion. Worse, in some cases, the person who is listed as the Primary Contact leaves the agency, and then the account has to be closed and the agent must re-register.
How do I add new users?
Simple - just login as either the Primary Contact or a user with Admin rights. At the top right, you'll see a menu called "Admin." Select the "Create New User" option from this menu, and follow directions. The new user's password will be e-mailed to the e-mail address you enter for him or her.
The screen says, "Your account has been deactivated." This could be because your TDI license number (or your agency's number) has been blocked by TWIA's Agent Services or because your particular account has been blocked by TWIA, your own agency's TWIA Web administrator or the Primary Contact. Check with the TWIA Web administrator at your agency, they should be able to activate your account. If your administrator needs help activating the account contact TWIA's Agent Services.
What does "status ineligible/pending/eligible" mean?
This is your status for doing business with TWIA, determined by Agent Services.
- Eligible - You can create quotes, apps and submit (print) apps. You can submit an online policy change, binder response or cancellation.
- Pending - You can create quotes, apps and submit, but you will be asked for additional paper copies of certain information along with your first application, such as a copy of your Tax ID, TDILicense, etc. You can submit an online policy change, binder response or cancellation.
- Ineligible - You can create quotes but not applications. You can't submit an online policy change, binder response or cancellation.
To inquire about your status, contact Agent Services.
I don't know which e-mail address TWIA is using for me.
From the Agent Portal login page, click the "New User" link. You'll be taken to a separate page and asked to enter your TDI number. Be sure to use the one that you (or your Primary Contact) used to register for the Agent Portal system (in other words, if you have more than one, make sure it's the one for your agency's Agent Portal account). A new page should appear, displaying the Primary Contact info, including e-mail address. If you aren't receiving passwords or PDFs, it is probably because they are going to this e-mail address. Check the other questions at top of this page to troubleshoot problems with receiving e-mail.
How do I change my information/profile?
Under the "User" menu, once you log in. Note that the "username" or "user ID" field cannot be modified. But your e-mail address, first and last name and admin rights can be modified. You can also change your password from the "User | Change Password" menu.
I changed my e-mail address and now I don't get Agent Portal e-mails. Have your agency's Primary Contact (usually the agent of record) contact Agent Services and ask to change your e-mail address to one that you can access. ONLY THE PRIMARY CONTACT CAN REQUEST THIS CHANGE. All of your new e-mails from Agent Portal will then go to this new address.
I logged in, but can't see any menus for converting a quote to an application.
This probably means your status is "Ineligible." You can check your status by logging in — your status will be displayed at the bottom of the page. To learn why your status is ineligible or to change your status, please contact Agent Services.
I understand that TWIA is going to begin requiring agents to pay the Total Gross Premium + Surcharges with each application submission as opposed to the net amount after commission. Is this true?
Yes, TWIA will now require agents to send in the Total Gross Premium + Surcharges with all applications(new and renewal). TWIA will pay each agent’s commission monthly.
Will the agent still receive the renewal billing notice from TWIA?
Yes, TWIA will continue to send the renewal notice to the agent.
Why is TWIA requiring payment of the Total Gross Premium + Surcharges with the application submission, just to turn around and pay me back my commission?
TWIA is aligning itself with standard insurance industry practices, while preparing to move forward with direct billing to policyholders. Collecting the Total Gross Premium + Surcharges is the first step in this transformation.
Are TWIA policies now Direct Bill?
No. At this time, Direct Bill has not been implemented; therefore, an insured must still go through an agent to pay premiums to TWIA.
Can the payment be an insured’s check, or does it have to be an agency check?
The agent may remit either the insured’s check or an agency check with the application. NOTE: If the agent is endorsing an insured’s check to TWIA because the insured made the check out to the agency, then we suggest that the agent include a notation stating, “Pay to the order of TWIA” in the endorsement on the back, so that no other party can cash the check.
What about premium-financed policies? How are they to be paid?
The agent collects the down payment and has the finance agreement signed, then sends the finance agreement to the finance company, requesting remittance of the financed amount to the agent as soon as possible. After receiving the financed amount, the agent attaches the total gross premium (including checks for the down payment and the financed amount) to the application, and sends them to TWIA.
If a premium is financed, does the finance company send payment directly to TWIA?
No. Agents should collect the down payment and have the finance agreement signed, send to the finance company and ask them to send the financed premium as quickly as possible back to the agent. Once you receive the total premium from down payment and finance company, attach checks for the Total Gross Premium to the application and send to TWIA.
Will TWIA continue to accept an agency check as one of the approved payment methods for premiums?
Yes, however, TWIA encourages all payments, excluding those for policies financed by Wellington Premium Finance, Inc. (formerly CG Premium Finance Inc.) to be paid via an insured’s check. This payment method protects the agent from being charged out of pocket expenses when a policyholder’s check is returned for Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF). NOTE: For each Wellington-financed policy, the agent will send TWIA the Wellington finance agreement with a separate check, payable to TWIA, from the insured to cover the agent’s commission and any applicable policy waiver surcharge.
What happens if the insured’s check is returned to TWIA due to insufficient funds?
If a policy has not yet been issued, we will reject the application. If a policy already has been issued, TWIA will send a notice of cancellation.
Will renewals be billed directly to the insured?
No. The renewal notice goes to the agent as it always has. The agent will send back the signed application and total gross premium, along with any other requested information (e.g., an MSB) to TWIA. The change is that now the agent must send TWIA the total gross premium rather than the net premium.
The agent will still bill the insured, but the insured’s check should be made payable to TWIA and the agent will mail all the information in?
YES. The renewal application goes to the agent as it always has. The agent will send back the signed application and total gross premium, along with any other requested information, e.g., MSB. The new procedure is that now the agent must send TWIA the total gross premium, NOT THE NET PREMIUM.
Is payment of the gross premium also required on Commercial lines now?
YES, this payment method applies to ALL business written by TWIA.
If the premium is escrowed, will TWIA send a bill to the mortgage company?
No, TWIA will continue to mail the Renewal Applications to the agent of record 60 days prior to the expiration of the existing policy. TWIA will also continue to mail the policyholder an “expiration notice”. The expiration notice is intended to alert the policyholder that the policy will be expiring and that they should inform their agent of any policy changes that should be made for the upcoming renewal. The expiration notice will be mailed 45 days prior to the expiration of the policy. A lapse notice will be sent 5 days after the expiration date of the policy, to both the agent and the policyholder that coverage expired.
I have a policy that will be paid via Wellington Premium Finance. What do I need to send with the application?
For a Wellington-financed policy, the agent will send TWIA the Wellington finance agreement and a separate check, payable to TWIA, from the insured to cover the agent’s commission and any applicable policy waiver surcharge.
If someone other than Wellington Premium Finance finances the premium, what form of payment should I send?
A payment of the Total Gross Premium + Surcharges is still required. This amount may be paid by your agency’s check, the insured’s check, a cashier’s check, or a money order.
Will the amount of commission that agents earn change?
No. For both New Business and Renewals, agents will continue to earn 16% of the premium amount for Residential and Commercial policies, and 12% of the premium amount for Mobile Home policies. No commissions are earned on any surcharges.
How will I be paid my commission?
All commissions will be direct-deposited via an Automated Clearing House (ACH) transaction on the fifth business day of the month after the agent’s monthly statement is received.
How do I sign up for ACH?
The enrollment forms are available on the TWIA website. Click on the Agent tab near the top of the screen, and then click on the “Documents and Downloads” link on the left hand side of the Agent page. Under the heading entitled “Accounting and Tax Forms”, near the bottom of the center column of the page, you will find a link to the “ACH Form”. Click on the link and print out the form for completion.
How will I be able to keep up with my commissions?
A commission statement will be emailed to the commission contact designated by the Taxing Entity for your agency. Each month TWIA will provide a detailed commission statement listing all transactions made to policies in your book of business.
When will I receive my commission statement and commission payment?
You will receive your commission statement and payment on the fifth business day of the month after the monthly statement is received. The statement and payment notification will be sent via email, and the payment will be deposited directly via ACH transaction to the account you have specified.
What is a “Taxing Entity”, and why are you sending the commission statement to that office?
The Taxing entity is the party responsible for paying taxes on the commission earned by the agent or agency, and therefore is the recipient of the statement.
I didn’t receive the ACH transactions, and I know I sent in some applications last month. What happened?
Commission will be paid on the later of: 1) the effective date of the issued policy and/or endorsement effective date, or 2) the process date (if a policy is in an issued state and not a binder).
- Today is May 1, 2015. A policy has been issued with an effective date of June 1, 2015. The commission for this policy would be reflected on the June 2015 commission statement, and included in the June 2015 ACH payment.
- Today is June 15, 2015. A policy application was processed and effective on May 1, 2015, but put under a 60-day "binder" due to missing underwriting information, e.g., no WPI-8 exists for a re-roof indicated on the application. The missing information is provided 45 days later, on June 15th, and the policy is issued. The commission for this policy would be reflected on the June 2015 commission statement, and included in the June 2015 ACH payment. Note: To view your policies and their status, please log into the TWIA Agent Portal system and select “Policy” from the menu at the top of the page. You may view your list of existing policies and their status. Policy applications that are in “Return Application” status are under binder and not in an issued status.
Can I view my commission statement on line?
No, it is not available on line.
I lost the commission statement you emailed me, and I’ve deleted it from my emails. How do I get another copy?
You may contact the TWIA accounting department by email at [email protected], or call them at 512-899-4900 and select Option 4, for another copy of your statement.
I changed my bank account number. How do I update my ACH information?
If I have already mailed in an application with a check based on the net premium instead of gross, what is going to happen?
Whether a policy is Issued or placed under a 60 day binder, TWIA will mail your office a 30-day invoice representing the Gross premium minus the net payment received (in most cases the amount invoiced will be the commission withheld by the agent when the application was submitted). If the invoice is not paid, cancellation of the binder or policy will follow.
Once a policy is issued, how would the scenario described above be reflected on the commission statement?
The commission statement will reflect the commission earned based on gross premium (even if the commission originally was withheld by the agent).
Will the amount of time allowed for paying an invoice remain at 45 days?
No, in most cases, invoices are due in 30 days. There may be an occasion when a 14-day payment deadline will be enforced, specifically when you are in receipt of the “Minimum Acceptable Payment” letter.
If a net-only premium payment is received at TWIA after the end of the year, and TWIA sends a Deficient Premium notice to the agent, how long does the agent have to send in the difference in premium?
The agent must get the difference in premium to TWIA within the thirty (30) day invoice period.
How will premium refunds be handled?
Premium refunds will be mailed directly to the policyholder or premium financier.