From Coast To Panhandle, Ike Will Cost All Texans

Rep. John Smithee
Rep. John Smithee

Problems on the Texas coast stemming from the hurricane will eventually affect you.

In the week since Hurricane Ike blasted the Texas coast, estimates put the cost of the damage in the billions of dollars.

The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association is a last resort insurer that covers much of the coast. It has about $4 billion in claims, but only $2 billion in reserve.

Since it is a state subsidized insurer, that left over $2 billion will be picked up by you, the taxpayer.

Rep. John Smithee of Amarillo, who also chairs the House Insurance Committee, says "TWIA was just selling policies with no concern for the reserves to pay the losses. It's a typical government program."

Smithee says Hurricane Ike is the storm he was anticipating when he tried to pass legislation last year that would revamp TWIA's funding structure.

It was eventually killed because of opposition from representatives on the coast who did not want their constituents to pay higher rates.

Along with that $2 billion tab, homeowners will most likely watch their insurance rates increase as insurers scramble for the money to pay out claims.