The Texas House of Representatives Insurance Texas Committee has authorized a check that would make poignant changes to how the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association operates, carriage it on to the full House for consideration.
H.B. 272 tweaks how claims disputes or matured, removes the requirement that TWIA policyholders reason inundate insurance, removes the limit value of a home insurable by TWIA, and requires TWIA to annually contention a disaster plot to the commotion Legislature.
Under H.B. 272, claimants would be authorized to solve disputes by litigation, but only after burdensome a run of choice processes.
The question of how to take adult a run at government mishaps at TWIA is one that has unclosed a run of issues surrounding the association, which serves as Texas quasi-governmental insurer of final choice for homeowners in hurricane-prone areas along the disorders coast.
After conducting an investigation, the Texas Department of Insurance discovered TWIA had been paying insurance adjusters for work they hadn't performed and paid claims based on those adjusters' reports.
TDI is also investigating the firings and severance packages given to two top TWIA lieutenants, who were dismissed late last year because of "management issues." Reggie Warren, the former head of claims at TWIA, was given more than $114,000 and a truck, which he had been using at the agency. Bill Knarr, the former catastrophe office manager, received more than $47,000.
In a Feb. 28 letter to then-TWIA general manager Jim Oliver, Texas Insurance Commissioner Mike Geeslin, a Republican, criticized the association's management for lacking the "experience, competence, or trustworthiness to operate TWIA in a safe and sound manner." Geeslin added TWIA had become "hazardous to the public" (BestWire, March 1, 2011). The TDI declined to comment on the legislation.
Oliver was fired last month, and TWIA's board appointed Randy Wipf, vice president of underwriting, to serve as acting general manager (BestWire, March 23, 2011).
Meanwhile, Craig Eiland, D-Galveston, Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio and Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood -- all members of the House Insurance Committee during the 2009 session -- allegedly pocketed tens of thousands of dollars in fees and commissions in Hurricane Ike-related suits filed against TWIA. Those fees and commissions were viewed by some as potential conflicts of interest.