Coastal Texas home and business owners will not have to worry about increased windstorm insurance rates next year, after the board of directors for the Texas Windstorm Association voted Tuesday to keep its rates the same for 2020.
Monday’s split vote came after the association received hundreds of written comments and heard dozens of speakers ask for them to postpone more increases to windstorm rates, officials said.
Windstorm insurance is a special type of insurance that covers damages caused by high winds, such as those caused by a hurricane.
The windstorm board voted 5-3 to submit a plan to the Texas Department of Insurance that recommends a 0 percent rate increase.
The association had until Aug. 15 to submit a proposed rate for 2020.
Tuesday’s vote contained a caveat that the board could reconsider its decision at its next meeting in December.
“The TWIA Board of Directors takes seriously the impact of rising insurance costs when considering TWIA rate changes,” said John Polak, the general manager of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association. “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.”
Tuesday’s decision stands in stark contrast to the association’s 2018 decision to propose a 10 percent increase to residential and commercial policy holders. That proposal was ultimately blocked by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who called on the legislature to make changes to the way the windstorm association operates.
The lawmakers did that, but some of the changes made don’t go into effect until Sept. 1, officials said.
Tuesday’s decision will allow the windstorm association to come into compliance with the new rules before proposing more rate increases, said State Rep. Mayes Middleton, a Republican from Wallisville.
“There’s a lot in there that they haven’t put into practice yet,” Middleton said. “It’s really not right to vote on something with a rate increase right now.”