Gov. Rick Perry has signed a bill that will reform the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, helping to provide a buffer against the financial strain devastating storms can bring.
HB 4409 loosens restrictions on the amount TWIA can fund by allowing coverage of up to $2.5 billion in losses. TWIA will also now be able to award damage payments through premiums, reserves, public securities, commercial paper and other market source financial instruments.
The new law will provide disaster aid worth more than $325 million, including a $150 million relief package for the University of Texas Medical Branch. It would require the Texas Department of Insurance to keep a list of private windstorm insurers and help them develop incentives for those you offer it along the coast, offsetting the burden on the TWIA.
Although Perry signed the bill last month, he held a more ostentatious re-signing in the presence about 500 residents of the hurricane-prone city of Corpus Christi. That city has suffered from the effects of last year's Hurricane Ike, but the storm also depleted the windstorm insurance fund.
“This legislation addresses a number of issues that have made it tough for insurance companies to remain engaged along the Texas coast, making it difficult for citizens to get the windstorm coverage they need and exerting upward pressure on insurance premiums across the state,” said Perry. “To me, this bill represents progress, incorporating sound business practices to improve the way we handle a critical issue that affects all Texans.”
Holly LaFon has written and worked for various local publications including D Magazine and Examiner.