Windstorm claims from Hurricane Ike continue to be reported more than two years after the storm made landfall. The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) continues to average receiving at least one new claim every day from the victims of the costliest storm to ever hit the Texas coast. Some of the state’s largest insurance companies say they are also still seeing new Ike claims.
Homeowners have two years from the date of the storm to file claims where they can be fully reimbursed. Any claim filed after two years can only be considered paid under an actual cash value agreement rather than full replacement. In some instances additional time can be offered homeowners if they have asked for an extension.
Hurricane Ike struck Galveston on Sept. 13, 2008, with 110 mile per hour wind gusts and a 16 foot storm surge. More than 2,000 homes and businesses on Bolivar Peninsula in Galveston County were completely washed away. Seventy five per cent of the structures in the city of Galveston received flood damage.
Hurricane Dolly struck south Texas on July 23, 2008, causing an estimated $500 million in total insured losses. With the exception of 80 pending lawsuits, TWIA has paid all of Dolly claims.
Texans whose homes were damaged in the 2008 storms have until April 1 to make repairs to their homes or they will no longer be able to obtain a windstorm policy from TWIA. “Homeowners with questions about repairs or having the proper inspections required for TWIA coverage should contact their agent or TWIA,” said Mark Hanna, a spokesman for the Insurance Council of Texas.
TWIA, which only provides windstorm coverage in counties that lie along the Gulf of Mexico, faces losses that may reach $2.3 billion. The number of TWIA claims from Hurricane Ike has risen to 92,800 and 4,800 lawsuits have been filed. More than 2,500 of the lawsuits have been settled.
To date, TWIA has paid insured losses of $1.85 billion which wiped out the agency’s catastrophic reserve trust fund. To pay claims, TWIA assessed insurance companies for $430 million which included $100 million from Hurricane Dolly losses. By state law insurance companies have been able to seek reimbursement through premium tax credits for $230 million which comes from the General Revenue fund which ultimately comes from Texas taxpayers.
In Texas, the total number of insurance claims from Hurricane Ike exceeded 700,000.
Source: Insurance Council of Texas
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