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John Cornyn

September 28, 2000

Ms. Sara Shiplet Waitt
Senior Associate Commissioner
Legal and Compliance Division
Texas Department of Insurance
P.O. Box 149104
Austin, Texas 78714-9104


Dear Ms. Waitt:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 139733.

The Texas Department of Insurance (the "department") received a written request for "'focal request' by Employer's Health Insurance Company submitted to [the department] for an interim rate increase." The department does not contend that the information at issue is excepted from public disclosure; rather, you have sought a decision from this office pursuant to section 552.305 of the Government Code, which authorizes parties with a privacy or proprietary interest in the requested information to submit arguments to this office as to why the information is excepted from required public disclosure. In accordance with section 552.305(d), the department notified representatives of Employer's Health Insurance Company of the current records request and invited them to submit comments to this office as to why their information is excepted from public disclosure.

This office did not receive any comments from Employer's Health Insurance Company in response to your notice. See Gov't Code 552.305(d)(2)(B); Open Records Decision No. 552 (1990). Consequently, this office has no basis on which to conclude that any portion of the information at issue is excepted from required public disclosure under the Public Information Act. Accordingly, we conclude that the department must release the requested information to the requestor in its entirety.

This letter ruling is limited to the particular records at issue in this request and limited to the facts as presented to us; therefore, this ruling must not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records or any other circumstances.

This ruling triggers important deadlines regarding the rights and responsibilities of the governmental body and of the requestor. For example, governmental bodies are prohibited from asking the attorney general to reconsider this ruling. Gov't Code 552.301(f). If the governmental body wants to challenge this ruling, the governmental body must appeal by filing suit in Travis County within 30 calendar days. Id. 552.324(b). In order to get the full benefit of such an appeal, the governmental body must file suit within 10 calendar days. Id. 552.353(b)(3), (c). If the governmental body does not appeal this ruling and the governmental body does not comply with it, then both the requestor and the attorney general have the right to file suit against the governmental body to enforce this ruling. Id. 552.321(a).

If this ruling requires the governmental body to release all or part of the requested information, the governmental body is responsible for taking the next step. Based on the statute, the attorney general expects that, within 10 calendar days of this ruling, the governmental body will do one of the following three things: 1) release the public records; 2) notify the requestor of the exact day, time, and place that copies of the records will be provided or that the records can be inspected; or 3) notify the requestor of the governmental body's intent to challenge this letter ruling in court. If the governmental body fails to do one of these three things within 10 calendar days of this ruling, then the requestor should report that failure to the attorney general's Open Government Hotline, toll free, at 877/673-6839. The requestor may also file a complaint with the district or county attorney. Id. 552.3215(e).

If this ruling requires or permits the governmental body to withhold all or some of the requested information, the requestor can appeal that decision by suing the governmental body. Id. 552.321(a); Texas Department of Public Safety v. Gilbreath, 842 S.W.2d 408,411 (Tex. App.--Austin 1992, no writ).

Please remember that under the Act the release of information triggers certain procedures for costs and charges to the requestor. If records are released in compliance with this ruling, be sure that all charges for the information are at or below the legal amounts. Questions or complaints about over-charging must be directed to the General Services Commission at 512/475-2497.

If the governmental body, the requestor, or any other person has questions or comments about this ruling, they may contact our office. Although there is no statutory deadline for contacting us, the attorney general prefers to receive any comments within 10 calendar days of the date of this ruling.


Yen-Ha Le
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division


Ref: ID# 139733

Encl: Submitted documents

cc: Ms. Toni Cathcart
Business Manager
Texas Legal Services Center
815 Brazos, Suite 1100
Austin, Texas 78701
(w/o enclosures)

Mr. Mark Wernicke, FSA, MAAA
Vice President & Chief Actuary, Small Group Division
Humana, Inc.
1100 Employers Blvd.
Green Bay, Wisconsin 54344
(w/o enclosures)

Mr. Michael Benedict McCallister
Employers Health Insurance Company
1100 Employers Blvd.
Green Bay, Wisconsin 54344
(w/o enclosures)


POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US
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