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No TWIA Rate Hike for 2020

Some of the 80 people who attended a Texas Windstorm Insurance Association meeting in Galveston on August 6 to protest a possible rate hike. The TWIA board voted not to raise rates for 2020. Shown in the photo are United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce President John LaRue (second from left), San Patricio Economic Develop Corporation Executive Director Foster Edwards (fifth from left), State Rep. Todd Hunter (fifth from right), and Corpus Christi City Council member Greg Smith (fourth from right). Courtesy photo

Windstorm insurance rates will not increase in 2020, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association decided at its quarterly meeting August 6. The vote came as a bit of surprise to South Texas customers, officials, and elected representatives, who strongly voiced opposition to any increase via emails, letters, and phone calls.

The board did say, however, that it would reevaluate rates later this year. The next board meeting will be December 10 in the Omni Hotel Bayfront in Corpus Christi.

By law, TWIA must submit rate recommendations to the Texas Department of Insurance by August 15 each year. The TDI commissioner has until October to give the rate a thumbs-up or -down, depending on the amount: Anything over 5 percent up to 10 percent (the largest allowed) requires TDI approval. Five percent or under automatically goes through. TWIA retains the right to reevaluate rates at any time deemed necessary.

“The TWIA Board of Directors takes seriously the impact of rising insurance costs when considering TWIA rate changes,” said TWIA General Manager John Polak in a statement. “As coastal communities continue to recover from the effects of Hurricane Harvey, the Board will continue to closely examine those concerns along with the importance of maintaining TWIA’s capacity to pay claims in the event of another storm like Harvey.”

About 80 people attended the meeting at the Tremont Hotel in Galveston to protest a rate hike. The Board of Directors heard two hours of comments against a hike, including remarks from State Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi), a fierce opponent of a hike.

"You have people up and down the coast still suffering from the hurricane," Hunter said. "To me, this is offensive that you're going to rate-hike anybody until they're recovered. Do what you did in May: Don't be raising any rates."

This time last year — one year after Hurricane Harvey — the TWIA board approved a 10 percent rate hike to go into effect January 1, 2019, which Gov. Greg Abbott suspended until June 1, 2019. In May, just before the 86th legislative session adjourned, TWIA voted to rescind the rate hike.

That was followed in July by the release of rate adequacy analysis showing residential coverage was about 42 percent inadequate and commercial coverage was around 50 percent inadequate.

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