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TWIA votes against taking back 5% rate hike

Bob Hall Pier in Corpus Christi after it was destroyed by Hurricane Hanna in July 2020. In voicing her opposition to a 5 percent rate hike in windstorm insurance due to go into effect Jan. 1, 2022, Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales told the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association: ‘You are another hurricane for us.’ Courtesy photo

Despite passionate opposition to a 5 percent rate hike in windstorm insurance due to go into effect Jan. 1, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association board voted 5-3 to not back down on its August decision by rescinding the hike.

At the board of directors meeting in Corpus Christi on Dec. 7, members of the Texas Legislature, representatives from Port of Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi City Council, and multiple other community members spoke out against the hike. An item to consider rescinding the hike was placed on the Dec. 7 board agenda after the Coastal delegation of legislators wrote to the board asking them to reconsider.

TWIA has since received 157 letters in opposition to the increase.

The virtual and live event opened with a call to order and review of previous minutes, with public comment next. For over an hour and a half, individuals such as Texas representatives Mays Middleton (R-Galveston) and Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi), Texas senators Juan Hinojosa (D-McAllen) and Eddie Lucio (D-Brownsville), and Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales made their pleas to rescind the summer vote.

“TWIA has shown a pattern of disrespect and disregard to laws and legislative intent,” said Middleton, the first person to comment at the meeting.

Among the discussion against the rate hike were references to recent inflation and the inability for those on a fixed income to be able to continue to pay for the insurance.

Hinojosa noted that many homeowners and businesses are barely recovering from the 2021 winter storm and the effect of the pandemic.

“People are struggling to pay their bills, and raising rates would be insensitive,” Sen. Hinojosa said. “It seems TWIA ignores legislation.”

Corpus Christi-area representative Hunter drove home the point that TWIA turns a deaf ear to opposition.

“The result by the TWIA board was again to ignore legislators, public comment, and show no care for Coastal Texas,” Hunter said. “We are ready to go to the next step, which is to take the rate hike issue to the Texas Department of Insurance and the Legislative Oversight Boards. We will never stop protecting our coastal residents and businesses. We are Coastal Strong.”

Canales also stated her disapproval of TWIA continuing with its planned rate hike. She asked that TWIA leaders look out for the best interests of the community and not divide them with a significant financial burden.

“Be the Texans you were appointed to be and reverse course,” Canales said. “You are another hurricane for us.”

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