The battle to stop & prevent high Windstorm Insurance Rates will continue
By State Rep. Todd Hunter
AUSTIN Texas (Texas Insider Report) Coastal residents were very successful this 2019 Legislative Session. Our coastal communities united and came together to support important windstorm reform for the Texas coast.
Laws were proposed and passed that helped stop TWIA (Texas Windstorm Insurance Association) rate increases for 2019 and established an oversight board to oversee windstorm funding and review other ways and methods to provide windstorm insurance relief to coastal residents that is fair equitable and affordable.
Let me explain what happened in the Texas legislative session that ended on May 27 2019.
HB 4534 passed by a large margin in the Texas House of Representatives. This piece of legislation was great for coastal residents because it froze TWIA rates and removed TWIAs authority to raise policy holder rates without certain approval.
Shortly after this strong vote for the Texas Coast TWIA withdrew its 2019 increase of rates on coastal residents. Simply put no increase of TWIA rates on coastal policyholders will happen in 2019.
This is a huge win for our Texas coast and its homeowners businesses realtors builders and economic development investors.
In addition to this legislative proposal HB 1900 passed both houses of the Texas legislature and was signed by the Governor of Texas on June 10. This new law is further relief and help for Texas coastal residents. The law does several positive things.
First it establishes a legislative funding and structure oversight board to gather information on better windstorm funding methods to evaluate other state catastrophe pools and to obtain public input on improving ways to handle windstorm issues.
Second the new law ensures that the public is made aware of rate increases and it also ensures rate adequacy. The law also says TWIA shall not accept public comment" before a vote is taken on rate increases on TWIA policyholders This means more public involvement in the process of increasing or decreasing windstorm rates.
Third the cost of reinsurance (insurance that is purchase by an insurance company in which some part of its liabilities is passed to another company) shall be paid by insurers not policyholders. And these payments by insurers cannot be added to a premium charged to a policyholder. This should lead to further help with costs assessed to coastal policyholders.
Fourth now TWIA shall only pay losses resulting from a storm for that storm only. Basically policyholder monies are only to be used to pay for the storms that just happened not another weather event.
Overall the Texas coast did well on windstorm reform and relief. The legislative session was successful and positive.
Thanks again to all the groups folks and communities that stood with our Texas coast. This success was especially needed because recovery efforts are still in progress after Hurricane Harvey.
With All this Success Theres Still a Word of Caution
Until we as a state develop a catastrophe plan that provides for equitable affordable windstorm and catastrophe insurance rates to all of Texas including all catastrophes such as hail fire tornado thunderstorms and hurricanes the battle to stop and prevent high windstorm insurance rates for the coast will continue.
Hopefully with the new laws that we passed this year we can develop such a fair Texas catastrophe plan.
Remember: Working together we can get things done. Trabajando juntos hacemos las cosas."
If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this article please dont hesitate to call my Capitol or District Offices. As always my offices are available at any time to assist with questions concerns or comments (Capitol Office: 512-463-0672; District Office: 361-949-4603).
And always feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or issues regarding a Texas State Agency or if you would like to contact my office regarding constituent services.
Texas State Representative Todd Hunter represents Texas House District 32 covering Aransas Calhoun Nueces (Part) and San Patricio Counties. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org