Texas lawmakers have been toiling over changes to the state’s insurance program, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association. The program provides affordable coverage to coastal residences and is one of the few organizations through which homeowners can obtain protections from wind damage.
Legislators have been debating over the necessity of the program and whether or not the state should continue to support it. A definitive decision had not been made before the end of the legislative session, but Senators were unwilling to let the issue slide into obscurity. After calling for a special session of the Legislature, lawmakers were able to conclude the fate of the program.
The cause of the prolonged debates is a bill that would make sweeping changes to the program as well as limit how much money a property owner could win in punitive damages if the program fails in its duties. Opponents of the bill have criticized the bill for not being consumer friendly. Supporters argue that the bill protects the program and its associated insurance companies from frivolous lawsuits.
The bill also allows for more transparency within the program and much stricter ethics rules for its employees.
During the special session of the Legislature, the bill has passed both the Insurance Committee as well as the House and awaits a final vote from the Senate. Governor Perry has expressed his enthusiasm over the progress of the bill, hoping that he will be able to sign it into law in the coming weeks.