Statement by The Heartland Institute on Texas Windstorm Insurance Association Reform

February 21, 2012

AUSTIN, TEXAS, FEBRUARY 21 - The Heartland Institute’s Center on Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate welcomes the announcement by Texas Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman that she will name an advisory committee and hire consultants to propose fundamental restructuring of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, which the commissioner called “unsustainable.”

According to the Texas Department of Insurance’s request for proposals, among the options that could be pursued are a reinsurance program for members and a program under which insurers would be paid fees to service and adjust claims for TWIA policies. The department said consultants and an advisory committee would be in place by April, with a final report due by June.

The following statements from insurance experts at The Heartland Institute - a free-market think tank - may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Tammy Nash at tnash@heartland.org and 312/377-4000. After regular business hours, contact Jim Lakely at jlakely@heartland.org and 312/731-9364.


“Commissioner Kitzman should be commended for taking note of TWIA’s funding and operational problems. This is just the first step in a very long process, but we welcome the dialogue and the effort to better protect Texas policyholders and taxpayers.”

Julie Drenner
Texas Director, Center on Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate
The Heartland Institute
jdrenner@heartland.org
512/799-5706


“We would encourage Commissioner Kitzman to broaden the scope of her inquiry. While TWIA’s claims-handling challenges certainly are an issue, they pale in comparison to the authority’s solvency concerns. TWIA must ensure that it can meet its financial obligations and all potential solutions should be on the table. These should include rate increases, incentives for private insurers to take out TWIA policies, and greater reinsurance and catastrophe bond protection to spread Texas windstorm risks around the globe.”

R.J. Lehmann
Deputy Director, Center on Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate
The Heartland Institute
rlehmann@heartland.org
202/525-5726


The Heartland Institute is a 28-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Washington, DC. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.