Just as progress is being made at the federal level to address dramatically increasing flood insurance premiums, IBAT has entered into the debate of how to deal with insuring against catastrophic losses from wind damage, especially along the Texas coast. In a letter written in response to a recently-proposed informal rule to address the funding of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA), IBAT President and CEO Chris Williston expressed a number of concerns that community bankers share regarding the future of property casualty coverage in Texas's coastal counties.
"The economic viability of the Texas Coast is important to all Texans," Williston said. "A stable and affordable insurance market is critical to provide not only continued economic activity in this region, but also to ensure an efficient conduit for consumer and industrial products coming through our ports, as well as petrochemical products we all use and rely upon."
In his letter, Williston referenced efforts in Congress to fix the fallout of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, which has resulted in unprecedented rate increases and many concerns for coastal lenders. A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers in the House and Senate emerged last week with a deal to delay those increases. The fix, known as the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, would delay the increases for four years, allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) enough time to develop an affordability framework for flood insurance.
We will continue our involvement in this important area, and will provide additional information as becomes it available.