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Windstorm Rate Increase Still a Possibility for 2020

A delegation of protestors from Corpus Christi attended a Texas Windstorm Insurance Association actuarial committee meeting in Austin on October 17. Leading the successful fight to stop a vote for rate hikes were John LaRue (center, red folder), the CEO of the United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce, and State Rep. Todd Hunter (center right). More meetings to come, Hunter said. Courtesy photo

A motion recommending a 10 percent rate hike be passed on to the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association for consideration failed four-to-three at a meeting of a newly formed TWIA actuarial committee meeting October 17 in Austin. After discussion, the committee decided to meet again between now and December 10, when the TWIA board is scheduled to hold a quarterly meeting in Corpus Christi. Before that meeting, the committee will further study the results of a rate adequacy analysis presented to the full board in August.

“Ultimately, we think this was a successful outcome for the Texas Coast,” said John LaRue, CEO of the United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce. “However, our challenges are not over. Coastal Bend residents should prepare themselves for another fight about a possible rate increase at the next TWIA Board of Directors Meeting December 10 at the Omni Hotel in Corpus Christi.”

LaRue and State Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi) attended the committee meeting along with a delegation of Coastal Bend officials to protest any rate increase recommendation.

“It appeared they felt they needed to review and study the information, which I thought they were correct on that,” Hunter told Corpus Christi Business News. “They raised some strong questions and strong issues about the information they had been provided by staff. They said let’s study this information and find out what we can.”

The rate adequacy analysis presented to the TWIA board in August shows residential insurance rates to be 41 percent inadequate and commercial rates to be 50.1 percent inadequate. TWIA is only allowed to raise rates by 10 percent at any given time. In the face of strong protests from ratepayers along the Gulf Coast, the board voted to recommend a zero rate increase at the August meeting. That should have been the end of it until next August, Hunter said.

“During my comments (at the committee meeting), I told them the board has already met and filed a zero rate increase for 2020 and they should keep their word,” Hunter continued. “Don’t play games with us. You have the exact information now as you had at that meeting.”

According to a statement released by TWIA, staff will review issues raised by the committee and provide written comments to members before a recommendation can be made to the TWIA board. Those recommendations will be considered at the board’s quarterly meeting December 10.

Meanwhile, another public notice was sent calling a teleconference meeting of the full board of directors for 10 a.m. October 29 to fill the vacant positions of vice chair and secretary-treasurer.

“There will be no discussion or action on TWIA rates at the meeting,” reads a notice sent to the media. These words, and the following, were printed in bold: “The board will conduct no other business at the meeting…”

No agenda has been set yet for the December 10 meeting.

While Hunter and LaRue agreed with the action taken by the committee, they are going to remain vigilant and wary of the TWIA board.

“They are going to trudge toward this no matter what,” Hunter said. “Bottom line is that it looks to me like they will make some sort of recommendation when they meet again, then it goes to the TWIA board in December.”

“We will continue to track the progress of the actuarial committee and provide the public with information as it develops,” LaRue added.

The December 10 meeting will be held at the Omni Hotel, 900 N. Shoreline Blvd. in Corpus Christi.

“I think we are going to have a good listening audience at that meeting,” Hunter said.

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