CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The board of directors for the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association found themselves in the eye of a storm when they held a meeting at the Omni Hotel this morning.
A 5 percent rate increase in premiums for residential and commercial policies was unanimously voted down by the board.
The meeting began at 8:30 a.m., with a huge turnout from the community. Many of them wanted to speak during the public comments section, which delayed a vote until four hours later.
Many people came wearing their "no rate hike pins," and others holding "no TWIA rate hike" signs were present. Eventually, the adjacent room was opened to provide more space for spectators.
That huge turnout included people like one concerned resident, who spoke several times during the meeting to address the TWIA board.
"I almost got discouraged of coming in here because so many people were walking away," the resident said. "I said 'where are you going?' They said 'we don't fit in there.'"
That resident also said the timing and location of the meeting was unfair.
Meanwhile, more than a dozen elected officials spoke to the TWIA board. Most had the same message.
"Keep your promise," State Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi) said. "You said zero percent. You filed zero percent. You keep that promise."
Then, one-by-one, other residents spoke in opposition to the rate hike. They shared their stories about recovery after Hurricane Harvey.
"We got structural damage on our house," said Roy C. Rivera, a long-time Rockport resident. "Our drywall is cracked. Our floors are cracked."
After hearing concerns for a couple hours, the TWIA board unanimously voted 7-0, for no rate hike.
It's great news for those like Rivera who are still feeling the impact of the storm that rocked the Coastal Bend more than two years ago.
Residents who have insurance through TWIA won't have to worry about an increase through 2020.
The TWIA board will meet again in August for its annual meeting.
If the TWIA board approves a rate hike then, the increase would not go into effect until 2021.