State Targeting Local Motorists to Make Up for Windstorm Shortfall

The latest proposal to keep the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association fully funded includes tacking on a fee that local drivers would have to pay when they buy auto insurance.

It's a proposal that is not sitting well with, well, almost anyone in the Coastal Bend.

Local officials have long sought to spread the cost of windstorm insurance to policy holders statewide, but this new proposal will add 20-percent to the cost of all auto insurance policies belonging to coastal residents, and it is angering officials and motorists alike.

Next week, there will be a special hearing in Corpus Christi, where decision makers are sure to get an earful.

Plagued by insurance losses from hurricanes Rita and Ike, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association has been increasing rates to businesses and homeowners in all 14 coastal counties by as much as 60-percent. The latest proposal to add a surcharge of as much as 20-percent to the auto insurance policies of coastal motorists has prompted Corpus Christi Mayor Nelda Martinez to send a letter of protest to Austin.

"We're going to have less insured motorists because they can't afford the insurance. Also 10 out of the last 14 years, we've had residential increase on windstorm," Martinez said. "13 out of the last 14 years have had an increase on the commercial side. We're tired of being singled out and not doing this equitably across the whole state."

Several motorists said Wednesday that they don't like the idea.

"I thought that the state of Texas had enough money in their coffers already," motorist Ignacio Lopez said. "I heard that it's one of the richest states in the USA. So I don't know why they have to raise it."

The hearing on the proposal will be held at 9 a.m. next Wednesday at the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi's ballrooms B and C.

State Representative Todd Hunter said he plans to protest in person to the Texas Insurance Commissioner on Monday about this latest proposal.


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