- Associated Press - Thursday, February 19, 2015

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) - A Texas lawmaker says thousands of coastal residents could lose their windstorm insurance coverage if the Legislature doesn’t extend a program that provides waivers for those who have been dropped by insurance coverage.

Republican state Sen. Larry Taylor of Friendswood introduced a bill last week that would extend beyond a 2016 expiration the inspection exemption provided dropped homeowners for coverage by the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.

The Galveston County Daily News (https://bit.ly/1LfXPwY) reports that more than 40,000 Texas coastal residents would lose their windstorm coverage if the measure isn’t passed.

But passage is not assured. In the past, the waiver program has received approval only after the two-year expiration date was added. Opponents of the waiver believe all homeowners to be protected should pass inspection.

In a December report, the association recommended that lawmakers extend the exemption only until the end of 2017 for homes valued at no more than $200,000. The association said the extension would give homeowners time to make needed improvements to roofs, siding and windows.

Otie Zapp, chairman of the Coastal Windstorm Insurance Coalition, said inspections that would be required if not for the exemption could mean tearing out of drywall or ripping material near foundations at a cost to homeowners of thousands of dollars. The mere fact that the homes had been insured previously by major insurance companies should be enough to satisfy the state for coverage by the Windstorm Insurance Association, Zapp said.

The association also recommended legislation to require all new construction or repairs in coastal areas to follow windstorm inspection requirements.


Information from: The Galveston County Daily News, https://www.galvnews.com

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