TWIA Bill Faced Hot Debate Ahead Of House Passage; Noteable GOP State Representatives Abandon Coastal Residents

Brady Chandler 
The Southside Light 

Austin—Most Texans who live on the coast would much rather have a private marketplace to purchase their windstorm insurance from, rather than be forced to deal with the already broken and beleaguered Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA). But on Friday, the Texas House took action to ensure that in the event of the next mass payout, Texans who rely on the money will at least have something rather than nothing.

House Bill 4534 passed the lower chamber by a vote of 132-10, with several key republican members turning their backs on coastal citizens.

What HB 4534 would do is make a pathway for an annual payment to the TWIA trust fund of 20 percent of net earned premium. That in turn would require amendments to the TWIA plan of operation to be effective before the hurricane season of 2020.

The bill prohibits TWIA from paying insured losses and operating expenses resulting from an occurrence or series of occurrences in a catastrophe year with premium and other revenue earned in a subsequent year.

To take the action one step further, the bill requires TWIA to hold public meetings in order to hear testimony from interested parties regarding recommendations and proposals for establishing and implementing sustainable funding and a sustainable funding structure for TWIA—an action that benefits coastal property owners and stakeholders.

At one point, the debate became increasingly heated when Corpus Christi area State Representative Todd Hunter took to the front lectern saying “I’m tired of TWIA and Coast-bashing,” in response to repeated attacks on coastal area residents who have been very vocal in opposition against TWIA.

State Representative Briscoe Cain, a Houston area Republican became obviously frustrated by Hunter’s remarks and tossed a pile of papers across his small desk while mumbling to himself. Cain, along with Republicans Terry Wilson, Tony Tinderholt and Jonathan Stickland and joined with a handful of tea party conservatives to vote against the bill.

The bill will now move over to the green carpet of the Senate where it will await its fate.


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