- Omnibus Bill Seeks to Address Windstorm Agency Problems -
(Austin)- Rep. Larry Taylor (Friendswood) announced the filing of House Bill 2818 today, a comprehensive reform effort intended to address many of the problems confronting the Texas Windstorm Insurance Agency (TWIA). Rep. Taylor’s legislation is in response to numerous reported management deficiencies, litigation abuses and the recent administrative oversight of TWIA.
Rep. Taylor said, “In order to be adequately prepared for future hurricane seasons, it is imperative that TWIA be operating at maximum efficiency, that the Reserve Trust Fund be solvent and that the agency have adequate management measures in place to protect consumers and ensure that claims are paid in a timely manner. House Bill 2818 is an important step in the right direction toward restoring public confidence in TWIA.”
Some highlights of House Bill H.B. 2818 include:
• Requires greater transparency of TWIA board meetings and actions;
• Provides premium surcharge discounts for certain policies that exceed current building code standards;
• Strengthens process by which difficult claims must be paid by creating an "expert panel" to determine a wind v. water formula;
• Allows TDI stricter enforcement authority over inspectors determined to be "bad actors" in the system; and
• Protects the association against unnecessary litigation costs.
Recently, the Texas Department of Insurance placed TWIA under administrative oversight due to numerous management problems that have been plaguing the agency. Travis County District Attorney’s office announced a criminal investigation into possible fraudulent activity related to claims from Hurricane Ike as well as the events surrounding the termination of two high level TWIA executives who received questionable severance packages.
Taylor added, “In light of the budgetary crisis that confronts the Texas Legislature, all aspects surrounding the payout of hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance losses must be scrutinized if Texas policymakers are to make sound fiscal decisions going forward.”
Rep. Taylor serves as a member of the Texas Sunset Commission, responsible for reviewing the statutory purpose and continuation of state agencies, as well as Co-Chairman of the Joint Windstorm Insurance Legislative Oversight Board. He was recently re-elected as Chairman of the House Caucus of the Texas House. Rep. Taylor represents District 24 in Galveston County and is serving his fifth term in the Texas House of Representatives as a member of the 82nd Legislature.