Funds needed for a rainy day
The current funding structure fluctuates greatly dependent on the bond markets. Such an unstable and insecure mechanism has caused lawmakers to rethink the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association in light of its growing liabilities, about $82 billion. Adding to the uncertainty of future funds is the continual payout for past storms, Ike and Dolly. Officials were forced to set aside another $100 million, that would have otherwise been invested in the Catastrophe Reserve Trust Fund, to pay for ongoing litigation. Thus, only $236 million is in reserve for the 2013 hurricane season.
The Corpus Christi Caller reports damages to that city alone could cost $147 million to $14.3 billion if a Category 4 storm was to make landfall in its area.
Though not formally filed as a bill, a couple of coastal lawmakers have floated an idea to require all Texans to share the burden caused by massive weather-related losses. Instead of TWIA policyholders repaying some of the bonds, the plan spreads more of the cost to private insurance companies. Since these companies are required by law to be solvent to do business in Texas, they will ultimately have to pass on the cost to their customers.
Since the plan is only in the drafting stages, it is impossible to state the amount inland residents may be asked to pay. However, Seth Chandler of the University of Houston predicts they would pay for about half of the first $2b illion loss in the event of a major hurricane.