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TWIA Committee Recommends 5% Rate Increase

Alan Wilson, executive vice president of Charter Bank in Corpus Christi, speaks out against a rate increase at the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association Actuarial Committee meeting on Tuesday, November 19. Courtesy photo

A recommendation to raise windstorm insurance rates by 5 percent will go before the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association when it holds its quarterly meeting in Corpus Christi on December 10. A newly appointed actuarial committee voted 5-2 during a meeting in Austin on Tuesday, November 19, to send the recommendation to the full board for consideration. The meeting was attended by a delegation of opponents to the increase from the Coastal Bend and Galveston.

“I think we were effective,” said State Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi). “They were trying to hit us with a higher rate, but because of everybody appearing and talking, they got the message.”

A statement from TWIA after the meeting said comments from the public were taken into consideration as well as written comments from TWIA staff.

The committee also agreed to ask the TWIA Board of Directors for information in six different categories to help them further study the rate issue. They requested that the information be given to the committee no later than three months after the December 10 meeting.

“I think that’s weird,” Hunter continued. “They recommended five percent, then recommended that they still needed to study rate adequacy information to see if their analysis is right. I think that’s very strange.”

The Coastal Bend delegation plans to continue to fight any rate increase recommendation and will be on hand at the December 10 meeting at the Omni Hotel in Corpus Christi to express their concerns.

“They voted a zero percent rate increase in August, they promised a zero percent increase, and they should stick to their promise,” Hunter said.

If approved by the TWIA Board on December 10, the requested rate increase then would be sent to the Texas Department of Insurance for approval.

“We are going to fight them in December, and if a rate increase is approved, we are going to go after TDI,” Hunter said.

He also noted that the 5-2 vote split happened along industry lines. The five voting to recommend the rate increase all represent the insurance industry. The two voting for no rate increase recommendation do not represent the industry.

“Georgia Neblett, the coastal representative, stuck with the Coast the whole time,” Hunter said. “She’s a true hero.”

Also a member of the TWIA board, Neblett is director for external affairs at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute. Voting with her against the rate increase recommendation was Stephen Alexander of Alexander Actuarial Consulting. Alexander spoke out against a rate increase at the TWIA board meeting in August. He was appointed to the actuarial committee in September.

The rate recommendation comes from a rate adequacy report presented to the TWIA board at its annual meeting in August. According to the report, rates are 41 percent inadequate for residential customers and 50.1 percent inadequate for commercial customers.

“It’s the same information they had in August, and they voted a zero rate increase,” Hunter said. “I want them to keep that promise.”

The next TWIA board meeting is set for December 10 at the Omni Hotel, 900 N. Shoreline Blvd. in Corpus Christi.

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