Coastal Bend residents win big as TWIA board members vote ‘No’ on rate hike

The Coastal Bend Delegation, led by Rep. Todd Hunter appeared at the meeting today in Galveston. Those in attendance from San Patricio County were SPCEDC Foster Edwards, Aransas Pass Chamber of Commerce Rosemary Vega, Ingleside Chamber of Commerce Jane Gimler, Portland Chamber of Commerce Shelly Stuart, Sinton Chamber of Commerce Pete Perkins and Lesley Sence-Mora and Aransas Pass Mayor Ram Gomez.

SAN PATRICIO COUNTY – A potential Texas Windstorm Insurance Association  (TWIA) rate hike for 2020 policies died this week, maybe not forever but at least for now.

TWIA board members met at the Tremont House Hotel in Galveston early Tuesday morning where they were greeted by an enormous group of coastal residents and business owners who spoke during the public comment period and let the board know what they really thought of any potential rate hike.

The policy rate hike could have been raised as much as 30% for homeowners and 40% for businesses.

Executives from the Coastal Bend area chambers of commerce, including Portland, Ingleside, Aransas Pass, Sinton and Corpus Christi; State Rep. Todd Hunter, State Rep. Mayes Middleton, State Rep. Briscoe Cain, representatives from Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa’s office, representatives from the San Patricio Economic Development Corporation, Corpus Christi City Council members Ben Molina and Greg Smith attended the board meeting to oppose the rate increase.

In a statement, TWIA officials said they will submit the 0% rate change filing with the Texas Department of Insurance by Aug. 15, as required by statute.

TWIA General Manager John Polak said about the decision, “The TWIA Board of Directors takes seriously the impact of rising insurance costs when considering TWIA rate changes.

“As coastal communities continue to recover from the effects of Hurricane Harvey, the board will continue to closely examine those concerns along with the importance of maintaining TWIA’s capacity to pay claims in the event of another storm like Harvey.”

President and CEO of the United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce John LaRue said, “Today was a win for us. The board made a good decision by not voting for a rate increase.

“However, the TWIA board can vote for a rate increase at any time. So we will have to remain vigilant.

“On behalf of the United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce, I want to thank our Coastal Bend delegation including former Chamber board chairs Wes Hoskins, President/CEO of First Community Bank, and Alan Wilson, executive vice president of Charter Bank, for their important testimony regarding the impact of TWIA rate increases on small businesses and homeowners. 

“The Coastal Bend business community is fortunate to have such dedicated advocates.”

TWIA’s next scheduled board meeting is Tuesday, Dec. 10, at the Omni Hotel in Corpus Christi.