Texas lawmakers approved revisions to the state’s windstorm fund this week. The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, a pseudo-government agency in charge of providing insurance coverage to coastal properties prone to hurricane damage, has been the subject of debate amongst legislators for some time now.
Senate approved reform will address several issues, including new methods to determine whether damage is caused by wind or water. The reform bill, House Bill 272, was passed unanimously by the Senate.
One of the issues to be addressed by the system reform is how the state deals with so called “slab claims.” These claims come from homes and properties that have been destroyed by a storm, leaving little more than the foundation. As per the bill’s provisions, a panel will be established, members of whom will determine whether or not the damages associated with slab claims are caused by water or wind.
The bill will also address the existing claims process. Those wishing to file claims for damages will have one year to do so. There will also be a new process through which claimants can dispute appraisals.
Sponsors of the bill call it a “compromise and negotiated product,” noting that it represents a concise, bipartisan effort to make changes to the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association. Part of the reasoning behind the bill is to stop the organization from overpaying claimants who had lost property because of water damage.
The bill will continue to the House with strong support.