Corpus Christi Chamber and Citizens Hold Press Conference Expressing Their Unification Against A TWIA Rate Increase



Art Metzinger and Matt Briscoe
Southside Light News 

Just the thought of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) possibly raising rates creates a buzz of fight on the Texas Gulf Coast and today, the United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce held a press event that sent the message loud and clear to the beleaguered group. The purpose of the event was to let the association and the public know that the Chamber and is membership stand united together against any proposed rate hikes that could now or in the future come down the pipe. 

Leading the charge locally was John LaRue, President and CEO of the United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce. Flanked by Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb and a host of others. The message was clear—Texas coastal residents were not going to sit back and take it anymore. 

Two of the most outspoken voices leading the charge today (as has become customary) was State Representative Todd Hunter and local Corpus Christi City Councilman Greg Smith. Hunter, who has been battling right and left against TWIA for some time now. Hunter made it clear that he thought what the association has been doing is somewhat akin to a criminal act and that something needed to be done. The Coastal area Republican also made it clear that he wasn’t going to just sit back and take it and that he was ready to continue the fight with a full head of steam. 

Councilman Greg Smith stood up in Ross Perot fashion saying that he felt that TWIA was a “giant sucking sound” of money going down the drain. And Smith ought to know—of all of the city council members in Corpus Christi Smith is without a doubt the most educated on the numbers and the process of the insurer of last resort. Smith is a numbers kind of politician and today, he showed it by point to numerical facts like how coastal residents only see a 40 cent return on every dollar paid into the system—a fact that often goes overlooked in the debate. 

Just hours before the press conference was to begin Monday morning, TWIA released a statement of their own as they appeared to be trying to go on the offense. 

“We have received hundreds of additional comments from interested stakeholders by e-mail since the meeting of the Actuarial & Underwriting Committee was announced on October 4. We will be sharing this feedback with members of the Committee today,” said Jennifer Armstrong, Vice President of Communications & Legislative Affairs for Texas Windstorm Insurance Association. 

Armstrong’s attempt to get in on the narrative backfired and was used against the agency at today’s press conference. Rep. Hunter challenge the associations statement calling into question their real motives and their failure to properly notify the public of the comment period. 

The stir today started because of a meeting of the TWIA Actuarial and Underwriting Committee that is coming up later this month. In that meeting, the committee is expected to send a recommendation to the TWIA Board of Directors that would include a rate increase. 

The public can still comment to the committee by emailing publiccomment@twia.org 

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