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Government/Politics

Lawmakers May Be Looking At Third Special Session

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Ryan Poppe
/
Texas Public Radio

Though Gov. Rick Perry has acknowledged the need to reform the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association ahead of a major storm, it is not one of the items being discussed in the second special session.

TWIA reform has been been on lawmaker's radar since the start of the regular session but they only got as close as holding a hearing on the current status of the program.

Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, said the lack of funding for 2013’s hurricane season, which is currently at $2.7 billion, will not be enough to cover a major storm like Hurricane Ike, where damage costs went into the tens of billions.

"We may not have a storm at all, but you could have the big one any summer -- you never know... You should have enough capabilities for what you can reasonably expect and a 100-year storm is not out of the realm -- that’s a possibility," Taylor said.

Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, said he is concerned with an idea being floated at the state capitol that requires different tiers of the coast to provide TWIA with the extra money.

"The Texas Coast, Houston is not in Tier 1, so your biggest areas are Brownsville, Galveston and Corpus Christi. They are not that rich in the area of being able to fund this stuff by themselves," Hunter said.

That plan would require the Tier 1 area to pay the most and other property-wealthy inland bay cities, who would be in other tiers, to pay less.

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Credit National Weather Service
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Damage from Hurricane Ike reached into the tens of billions.

Hunter said he forwarded an assessment to the new commissioner of insurance to allow TWIA to draw more money from insurance companies in order to fill that funding gap.

Perry has indicated that if lawmakers were able to reach an agreement he'd be willing to call them back for a third special session sometime in September.