Economic disaster possible without wind storm coverage - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Economic disaster possible without wind storm coverage

Posted: Updated:

Today the weather is calm and easy on the Texas coast, but come a month or so and the hammering winds and high water of a hurricane could bring an Ike-like catastrophe.

It's worth the risk if you're covered, but a much different story if your insurer is almost broke and can't pay the claim.

Terrilyn Tarlton is both an insurance agent and a member of Galveston City Council who says the principal source for coverage is "broken and insolvent".

"I'm selling policies right now to people who live on this island, who trust me to do their insurance and I know those policies may eventually not pay them a dime and that scares me," said Tarlton.

Claims from Hurricane Ike cleaned out the state's "last resort" coverage pool known as the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association and lawmakers in Austin have yet to agree on a way to fund it in the future.

In 14 coastal counties including Galveston, the storm clock is ticking.

Galveston council member Marie Robb says a proposal to more than double coastal wind insurance premiums is unfair and could drive residents away.

"We have to take the burden off the coast. 46 percent of the gross income from the state is on the coast. If people can't live here it effects the entire state," said Robb who is closely monitoring developments in Austin.

Robb's argument goes something like this - since folks on the coast help pay the cost of tornado, hail and flood damage suffered in the interior of Texas, non-coastal dwellers should share the cost of storm damage in the Gulf counties.

"It's a complete myth," said Seth Chandler with the University of Houston Law Center.

Chandler says his research indicates folks in Galveston, Corpus Christi and other gulf communities have been allowed for years to pay less than they should to cover the potential losses from storms.

"The coast is the only part of Texas that gets true subsidies from the rest of Texas for not having to pay the full premiums needed to cover the risk," said Chandler.

And here's the scary part, if Galveston or any coastal community gets hit by a storm this season Chandler says the state is under no legal obligation to bail-out a bankrupt Texas Windstorm and pay damage claims.

"So what we have is a system of massive denial that's coming to loggerheads as the legislative session comes to a close," said Chandler.

Powered by WorldNow

4261 Southwest Freeway
Houston, TX 77027

Phone: (713) 479-2801
Fax: (713) 479-2859

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices