Coastal Bend Leaders, Residents Speak Out Against TWIA Proposals

Corpus Christi officials and residents gathered Wednesday morning at a public hearing on the campus of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi to speak out against proposed surcharges by the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.

In the case of a catastrophic loss caused by a hurricane in the Gulf Coast, policy holders will be hit with an unspecified charge through their insurance policies, including automotive, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, renters and commercial building policies.

Basically, any auto policy holder will see a rate increase of up to 20-percent.

The charges are meant to help the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association recover from a budget shortfall.

Among those who spoke out against the proposed surcharges at Wednesday's public forum were members of the Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Nelda Martinez, State Representative Todd Hunter and local business owners and community members.

"This truly would put a burdensome, burdensome effect on our economic momentum," Martinez said. "But knowing also the last 10 of 14 years we have had Texas Windstorm rate increases on the residential side; also on the commercial side, 13 of the last 14 years we have had commercial rate increases in the Texas Windstorm Association. These are compounding, they have been excessive and there seems to be no stop."

"I don't know what their motive will be, but I want the coastline to make sure they've gone on record to let them know we oppose this. I'm very bothered that I question whether this is a real hearing or if they've already made their decision, but they can't make it now without knowing that they have all this opposition. They don't have anybody supporting this sort of rule," Hunter said. "It's real interesting to me that every time we try to get some help, it's stopped. But if they want to pour on us attacks, it's all the way. It's a push."

"Here we are experiencing an unprecedented boom in our area, and to think that our own state would come in and help dampen the spirits doesn't make a lot of sense to me," said Bart Braselton, vice president of Braselton Homes.

The proposed surcharges could be put into effect by the Texas Department of Insurance anytime in 2014, though many, including State Rep. Todd Hunter, are urging them to wait until the next Texas legislative session in January of 2015.


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