ICT Kicks off 12th Annual Hurricane Tour
The Insurance Council of Texas (ICT) will lead a team of insurance experts and meteorologists in educating coastal Texans about the need for insurance coverage and hurricane preparedness as part of our 12th annual Hurricane Tour. ICT wants to ensure that coastal homeowners and businesses are prepared in the event of a hurricane. Hurricane season began on June 1 but the peak of hurricane season is now through November 30.
Mark Hanna, spokesperson for ICT, will be accompanied by meteorologists from the National Weather Service (NWS), Manuel Villarreal, who serves as the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) ombudsman for the Texas Department of Insurance, and independent insurance agents in Beaumont and Clute. The group will discuss recent predictions for an active hurricane season, steps to take to prepare for a hurricane, insurance coverage, and the insurance market along the coast, including TWIA and the private market.
The hurricane tour starts in Beaumont on Sunday, August 20, and continues over the next five days with three dozen media interviews in 19 coastal cities. The group’s message is expected to reach an estimated three million Texas coastal residents from Beaumont down to Brownsville. Their stops include Beaumont, Orange, Port Arthur, Houston, Baytown, Pasadena, Galveston, Clute, Bay City, Victoria, Port Lavaca, Rockport, Port Aransas, Corpus Christi, Kingsville, McAllen, Pharr, Harlingen and Brownsville.
“If you live along the coast, you should review your insurance coverage, inventory your personal property and have an evacuation plan,” said Mark Hanna, a spokesperson for the Insurance Council of Texas.
Texans need two or possibly three different types of insurance coverage for their homes to be fully protected. Flood insurance protects homeowners from rising waters such as a storm surge. A residential fire policy protects homeowners from not only fires, but burglary, theft and liability. Some private insurers may offer homeowner policies that include wind. If your homeowners policy does not include wind coverage, you may also need windstorm insurance which protects homeowners from the damage caused by hurricane-force winds. Now is the time to check with your agent or insurance company and make sure you have the proper coverages and coverage amount in place.
Although it has been nearly nine years since the Texas coast was struck by Hurricane Ike in on September 13, 2008, coastal residents should not become too complacent. Interestingly, meteorologists say September 13 is the height of the hurricane season in Texas. Make sure you are prepared if another storm were to strike Texas. Hurricane Ike caused approximately $12 billion in insured losses along the coast and throughout other parts of the state.
Coastal homeowners should be aware of some recent legislation affecting new construction and property litigation.
HB 2439, which took effect January 1, allows engineers to certify that new homes have met coastal building code requirements through a post construction certification. This certification comes with a WPI-8 form allowing homeowners to qualify for windstorm insurance coverage from TWIA.
HB 1774 takes effect September 1. This new law requires trial attorneys to notify insurance companies within a specific period of time that they are filing a lawsuit over a weather-related claim. The suit must specify what damage was not repaired and what monetary damages the client is seeking.