Citizens Express Concerns at Windstorm Insurance Meeting

Texas Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman was in town and in the hot seat Friday, taking questions from community leaders and the public.

At issue: what to do about escalating windstorm insurance rates for home and business owners along the coast.

There were lots of hands going up, and lots of questions from folks who believe everyone in the state should share the cost of rising insurance rates, not just people who live along the Texas coast.

"It's just wrong," resident Mark Gurgevich said. "Fix this damn problem and get it done."

That's just a sample of the frustration from residents, business owners and even contractors who had plenty to say to the commissioner Friday afternoon. The frustration stems from windstorm rate increases, which seem to target the coast rather than everyone in the state.

Others questioned the commissioner about the red tape contractors have to go through to get their work certified so that it's eligible for insurance.

"It's a real fear, being picked on, discriminated against," State Rep. Todd Hunter said. "It's time to stand up and go forward."

"First of all, I don't have the final say on rates going up," Kitzman said. "I don't think the solution is just raising rates on the coast. Thirdly, rates are going up all over the state."

The commissioner said that come the next legislative session, everything has to be on the table including insurance rates. She said she expects to see a number of different plans to be considered.

One thing everyone agrees on is that this continues to be a challenging issue. State Rep. Todd Hunter said he believes, after listening to the concerns presented on Friday, that Kitzman can help construct progress to get something done.


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