Education is often the focus of the articles written by the Chair or me. This is because improving inspector education has been the focus of the Committee over the last couple of years. In that time, the Committee has worked on establishing the ride-along provisions for both qualifying and continuing education requirements developed a course outline for a 4-hour SOP CE course, and developed the content for the required 4-hour Inspector Legal Update Course. All of these improvements will provide better quality education, which accomplishes two things: it protects Texas consumers by ensuring the person doing the inspection is knowledgeable and competent and it strengthens the inspector industry for that very same reason. As the Committee continues this effort, I encourage all of you to be engaged in the process.
The Inspector Committee met on July 17 to discuss several items. The Committee is recommending that the Commission takes action on rules regarding exempt CE providers and the mandatory insurance requirements. Based on recommendations from the Inspector Education Subcommittee and data provided by TREC staff, the Committee is recommending repealing the provision that exempts certain providers from registration with the Commission. This is because the amount of staff time it takes to determine if the courses offered by exempt providers meet the TREC eligibility requirements for credit is significantly disproportionate to the number of inspectors taking advantage of the exemption. Additionally, the Committee recommends that TREC prohibits any insurance policy used to meet the statutory financial responsibility requirements from containing a “defense within limits” clause that would impact the statutorily required limits of liability. These clauses reduce the overall limits of coverage for a valid claimant by offsetting any costs paid to defend the policyholder, and as such, conflict with the statutory requirement that an inspector maintain a specific level of coverage. Both rule amendments will be proposed at the August 7 Commission meeting and will be up for adoption in November.
The Committee is scheduled to meet again on October 9 at 10 a.m. with the SOP Subcommittee meeting scheduled immediately before it at 9 a.m. As always, the Committee and I welcome your input.