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May 16, 2013 5:55 PM by Andrew Ellison - aellison@kristv.com

Windstorm Bill Dies in Texas Senate

AUSTIN - A bill that sought to control the rise in windstorm insurance rates is dead. S.B. 1700 was the latest in a series of bills aimed at putting more money into the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.

The bill would have given T.W.I.A the ability to raise billions of dollars to pay claims in the event of a major storm.

To share the financial burden of raising that money, funding would come not just from policy holders along the coast, but from policy holders all across Texas, and the insurance companies themselves.

Because as it stands now, the Association only has about $300 million in cash reserves. So, if a major storm hits, everyone along the coast would bear the whole burden with huge rate increases.

The insurance industry has been against the bill from the beginning, but local lawmakers and officials thought they had reached a compromise to get the industry on board.

That all fell apart this morning, and the bill came one vote short of being brought to the floor for a full vote.

County Judge Lloyd Neal says the T.W.I.A just doesn't work in its current form.

"This community and the communities along the seacoast are not going to support something that puts the whole burden on us," he says.

Judge Neal hoped this bill would pass, but now admits there is little chance of anything happening in this legislative session.

The session ends at the end of the month, and Neal says coming up with something that pleases everyone in that amount of time is a tall order.

For now, it's an uphill battle and a race against the clock for this bill.

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