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Texas House approves TWIA restrictions

State Rep. Todd Hunter (center) proudly holds onto House Bill 3810, which was approved 146-2 by the Texas House of Representatives. With Hunter are representatives Eddie Rodriguez (left) and Terry Canales. Courtesy photo

A bill placing restrictions on how the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association can raise rates was approved by the Texas House of Representatives around the same time TWIA announced the date of a board of directors workshop meeting on rate inadequacy.

Introduced by state Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi), House Bill 3810 will now move on to the Texas Senate for consideration. The bill would require a two-thirds vote by the nine-member TWIA board to raise windstorm insurance rates. It also would forbid the board from seeking a hike greater than 5 percent without first getting approval from the Texas insurance commissioner.

TWIA will hold a virtual workshop on rates at 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 21. The public is invited to attend and comment via Zoom.

Staff will present overviews on rates, funding, and reinsurance along with a 2020 biennial report.

The 13 topics listed on the agenda for discussion during a 150-minute workshop session include varying rates by territory, expanding the building code credit program, recommending legislative change to exempt TWIA from Premium and Maintenance tax, underwriting inspections of risks, and recommendations from Willis Towers Watson, the firm hired to conduct a rate study.

Working with the TWIA Actuarial Committee, Willis Towers Watson previously reported that windstorm rates for residential and commercial were inadequate.

Based on that information and committee recommendations, the TWIA board approved a 5 percent rate increase in December that was rejected by the Texas Department of Insurance. The increase was rejected because the agenda for that meeting did not specifically state that the board was going to vote on rates.

The board met again on March 23 with a more specific agenda item. Rather than send a second rate increase request to TDI, members voted to hold a workshop for further discussion.

“No action on a rate filing will be taken at the workshop meeting,” stated a TWIA announcement of the date and time.

Members of the public may submit written comments via email at Interested parties are encouraged to submit comments by noon Monday, April 19.

Members of the public may also provide verbal comments to the TWIA board during the designated public comment portion of the meeting. Those wishing to make public comment during the meeting must register and log in to the meeting via Zoom on a computer, tablet, smartphone, or telephone. After registering, a confirmation email will be sent with details on how to join the meeting.

The meeting will also be live streamed via YouTube.

An archived recording of the meeting will be available on the TWIA website after the meeting.

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