Chambers, Corpus Christi host windstorm meeting for 14 coastal counties

Highway 87 along the shoreline looking south toward Gilchrist, Texas. FEMA photo

Chambers of commerce representing Beaumont, Corpus Christi, Galveston, La Marque, Port Aransas, Port Arthur, Portland and Texas City came together in Corpus Christi on Friday, July 25, to address sustainable funding for Texas Windstorm Insurance Association. Local city and county governments joined the group led by Foster Edwards, CEO/President of the Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce and hosted by the city of Corpus Christi.

“TWIA is in a better position than any year since Hurricane Ike,” said Georgia Neblett, Texas Windstorm Insurance Association Chair. “However, a sustainable funding solution with reasonable rates is desperately needed to support Texas for the biggest storms and over multiple years.”

State Representative Todd Hunter urged the coastal representatives to unify to protect the large portion of the Texas economy that coastal counties represent.

“The Texas windstorm insurance process is broken and needs to be fixed,” said Hunter. “I will seek legislation to make the process fair, transparent and predictable.”

“Coastal counties have 7 percent of the population but feed all areas of the state with raw materials, equipment and energy for manufacturing products and providing services. They are also the outlet for the state in distributing its products for sale and deploy its military,” said Jim Rich, Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce. “We need a sustainable funding program to protect the economy and assets of the state.”

Rich’s position was echoed by other participants including Jimmy Hayley of Texas City-La Marque Chamber of Commerce who pointed out that the coast is 40 percent of the Texas economy with 7 percent of the population.

The group is working on legislative funding mechanisms that would moderate the risks and provide incentives for the insurance industry to sell more wind insurance in the competitive market and distribute risks like all other types of insurance.

“We are seeking legislation that results in less government, provides fair rates for the consumer and supports the free market,” said Hunter.

For more information about the Windstorm Conference, contact Ginny Cross at (361) 881-1800 or by e-mail at ginny [at] theccchamber [dot] org.

— Beaumont Chamber press release