The Texas Department of Insurance said it has commenced market conduct exams of several carriers after a barrage of consumer complaints that insurers were treating their Hurricane Rita claims improperly.

Its announcement of the inquiries came in a bulletin to all property-casualty insurers writing coverage in Texas, warning them to deal fairly with customers.

Betty Patterson, the senior associate commissioner for the department's financial division, said at this point the number of exams underway amounts to "a handful," but the number of complaints was "way beyond that [amount]."

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