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Rep.Deshotel, Joe

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Orange County excluded from Texas Windstorm Pool  print page

by: Rep. Deshotel, Joe
04/19/2006

(Austin)- Current rules exclude Orange County residents and businesses from the Texas Windstorm Pool. Representative Joe Deshotel (Beaumont) has filed legislation that will include Orange County in the "windstorm pool" and calls on the Governor to add the legislation to this special session's call.


The purpose of the "Texas Windstorm Insurance Association Act" is to provide adequate windstorm, hail, and fire insurance to selected areas of the state. Those areas subject to frequent and severe damage resulting from windstorms and/or hailstorms will be designated within this Act. In accordance with this Act, several counties are designated and listed as "First Tier Coastal Counties" and "Second Tier Coastal Counties". Orange County is a Second Tier County given that the borders fall short of reaching the Gulf of Mexico. However, it is only disconnected from the Gulf by a sliver of Jefferson County extending to Sabine Lake.


Orange County residents are officially being notified by their insurance providers that their policies renewal will no longer contain windstorm protection. "This is a very dangerous situation for the economic future of the county," warned Deshotel (Beaumont).


All licensed insurers in Texas, excluding only a few, are required to become members of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, which in turn provides windstorm coverage for policy holders in the designated areas. The counties are designated for coverage by the sole discretion of the Texas Insurance Commissioner. Currently all First Tier Counties are offered the coverage; however, Second Tier Counties are still vulnerable.


Deshotel (Beaumont) has recognized the devastation and destruction that has occurred due to Hurricane Rita. Further, he understands that because of Orange County's geographic position, hurricanes are a perpetual threat to this coastal region.

"The homes and businesses in Orange County need adequate windstorm coverage in their policies. Orange County is as much in range of these storms as all of the First Tier Counties and should have the same protection," Deshotel (Beaumont) stated. "This bill makes sense and makes available much needed protection for the people of Orange County. I hope that the Governor will join me in protecting these people and recognize, as I have, that this cannot wait through the upcoming hurricane season. We have to correct this now, and I hope that he will add it to this special session's call," said Deshotel (Beaumont).


Deshotel's (Beaumont) proposal designates Orange County as a First Tier County and clarifies that all First Tier Counties have access to the coverage offered through the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.


Contact: Representative Deshotel: Judge Edwards (512) 463-0662

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Capitol Address:
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Room GW.12

P.O. Box 2910

Austin, TX 78768

(512) 463-0662

(512) 463-8381 Fax

One Plaza Square, Suite 203

Port Arthur, TX 77642

(409) 724-0788

(409) 724-0750 Fax