Local communities seek to oppose TWIA proposed rate increase - Brownsville Herald: Local News

Local communities seek to oppose TWIA proposed rate increase

BY ALANA HERNANDEZ STAFF WRITER | Posted: Tuesday, September 11, 2018 10:10 am

LAGUNA VISTA — Laguna Vista city officials began mobilizing support from other Valley cities and chambers of commerce to oppose the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association’s proposed 10 percent rate increase, which will go into effect January 1, 2019, if approved.

Tonight, the Town of Laguna Vista is seeking to approve a resolution during its council meeting to oppose the proposed increase. The South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce and the City of Los Fresnos Council will seek to approve similar resolutions.

“All 14 coastal counties should be upset about this and if we all band together, then maybe we can get something done and help each other out,” said Laguna Vista Mayor Susie Houston.

In July, the TWIA Board of Directors voted to increase rates for 2019 by 10 percent at its quarterly Board meeting. The Insurance Association filed the proposed rate increase with the Texas Department of Insurance by Aug. 15, 2018.

According to the TWIA website, “In making the decision to increase rates for 2019, the Board analyzed and considered the Actuarial and Underwriting Committee’s recommendation to increase rates by 10 percent, input from a diverse group of stakeholders, and actuarial indications showing rates are currently inadequate by 32.2 percent for residential policies and 37.3 percent for commercial policies.”

The Commissioner of Insurance must approve the rate filing before it can go into effect, and he has requested feedback from the public before making this decision. The Texas Department of Insurance will accept public comments about the proposed rate increase through Oct. 1.

If approved, the rate increase will apply to all TWIA residential and commercial properties. New business and renewal policies issued in 2018 will not be affected by the rate increase until the policies renew in 2019.

The Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce adopted a resolution last Wednesday opposing the proposed rate increase.

“I think there is a kind of domino effect in communities,” said Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce President Betty Wells. “Obviously, a lot of our members are mom-and-pop operations so they have their overheads, and they have mortgage payments on the buildings. So, any increase can make a substantial difference in whether or not they can continue to do business.”

In addition, Wells said the chamber of commerce is worried about home buyers and current homeowners whose insurance sometimes puts them out of the approval market for loans.

“I understand the decision has already been made by the state insurance board, but we at a minimum want to go on record as being opposed to it and encouraging them to find a better way,” she said.