CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce along with several chamber groups from across the Coastal Bend held a news conference this morning to gather political and citizens' support to stop the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association from raising its rates again.
The potential rate hike would affect thousands of property owners along the Texas Coast who are required to use TWIA to insure their homes and businesses in case a hurricane or hail storm hits.
According to United C.C. Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer John LaRue, TWIA normally is allowed to raise its rates by up to 10 percent. But TWIA conducted a study that may allow them to raise their rates by more than that.
Last week, TWIA published a Rate Adequacy Analysis report that stated its current rates for residential wind policies are about 40 percent too low and their rates on commercial policies are 50 percent too low.
LaRue says those rates are outrageous.
"People in this community and this region are still recovering from Hurricane Harvey which was less than two years ago and to propose that kind of burden on these people at this time when we think they already have the sufficient funds to cover what's needed," LaRue said.
State Representative Todd Hunter agreed, saying TWIA doesn't have to raise rates but it chooses to.
"The Texas Coast does not need to be punished anymore," Hunter said. "This organization needs to be helping the coast, not hurting the coast."
Representatives with the Port Aransas Chamber, the Ingleside Chamber, Rockport-Fulton Chamber, Portland Chamber and Aransas Pass Chamber attended this morning's news conference. Several politicians also attended including State Representative Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, Corpus Christi City Councilman Greg Smith and Corpus Christi City Councilman Ben Molina.
They along with Hunter and LaRue asked the community to discourage TWIA from raising its rates by contacting the Texas Windstorm Association. Citizens can send their comments by emailing CommunicationsMail@TWIA.org. E-mailed comments will be accepted through noon Wednesday. Those comments will be provided to Board members at the August 6 meeting.
Hunter said it's really simple.
"You don't have to say a lot. All they have to say is we're opposed to the rate increase and that will do it," Hunter said.
Citizens also have the option of voicing their concerns during the August 6 TWIA Board of Directors meeting. Citizens will be allowed to speak during the public comment period of that meeting.
The meeting will be held at 9 a.m. at the Tremont House Hotel in Galveston.
If the board votes to approve a rate hike, it will go into effect next year.