Hundreds of Texas coastal residents protested against a proposed bill that would increase windstorm insurance rates if passed. Dallas Senator John Carona, chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, filed the bill (Senate Bill 18).
The bill proposes that private insurance companies would be required to provide wind and hailstorm coverage to coastal homeowners again by 2015. If approved, the bill would increase windstorm insurance rates and help out the struggling Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA), which has only $300 million in cash reserves—not even enough to cover property damage claims from a 10-year storm.
Because of the financial struggles of TWIA, the bill proposes to abolish TWIA and replace it with a state-managed pool. This would allow private insurance companies to provide coverage. This protection would come, however, at a higher price.
Representative Todd Hunter, District 32, opposes this bill. He said, “We in the coastline support Dallas when they have hailstorms, we in the coastline support Central Texas when they have brush fires, we just want it to be an even fair playing field for everybody.” Others are concerned about this bill being passed because of the increase in insurance rates. If passed, all Texans with this type of coverage would incur a one percent hike, while those along the coast would suffer a five-percent rate increase.
Some homeowners still believe that all Texans should equally pay into the state pool because of the potential for a statewide natural disaster.
Coastal state representatives are planning to file a bill that would spread the risk across the state of Texas instead of just the 14 coastal counties.