A new law in Texas governing the sale of travel-related insurance by retailers appears to be a reasonable compromise between protecting the interests of consumers and ensuring that the retail trade is not burdened with unreasonable procedures and restrictions.

Among other provisions, the measure requires agents to obtain a license to sell travel insurance -- in most cases, no such imperative existed before -- but eases the way to obtaining the license by allowing Texas agencies to certify merely that designated employees have completed a training program mandated by the state.

Under the terms of the law, no competency exam is required for certification.

This alone makes the measure far more palatable than the initial proposal for legislation, which not only would have imposed an exam on prospective insurance sellers, but also would have required agencies -- not the insurance companies -- to prepare the training program.

The insurers also must ready and distribute brochures, to be displayed prominently by agencies, that remind consumers to be aware that a particular travel policy might duplicate coverage already purchased and describe the process for filing a claim for indemnification.

Of course, in the best of all possible worlds, travel agents would not have to be licensed to sell insurance -- or any other product or service -- and insurers would offer customers full disclosure of terms and conditions without having to be asked.

Nevertheless, the law in Texas stands, and agents should take some comfort in the knowledge that its provisions could have been more onerous for the trade than they turned out to be.

Apparently, much of the credit for that goes to the lobbying efforts of the Southwest ASTA chapter, and we applaud its success.

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