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frequently asked questions

No, TWIA is a residual market property insurance company and is not a state agency. The Association was created in 1971 by the Texas Legislature to provide wind and hail insurance in the Texas seacoast territory. TWIA operations are governed by Chapter 2210 of the Insurance Code and a Plan of Operation adopted by the Commissioner of Insurance with the advice of the Association’s Board of Directors. The Board is appointed by the Commissioner.

Day-to-day operations are managed by the TWIA General Manager, who is hired by the Board of Directors.

The nine-member Board includes three public members residing in the first tier coastal counties and representing certain regions of the catastrophe area, three non-coastal representatives residing more than 100 miles from the coast, and three industry representatives actively writing and renewing windstorm and hail insurance in the first tier coastal counties.

No, TWIA does not receive tax revenue or any other state funds for operations of the Association. Texas Insurance Code Chapter 2210 outlines the funding sources TWIA must use to pay the insured losses and operating expenses of the Association. Prior to 2009, the Association funded losses through premiums and potentially unlimited assessments on insurance companies. HB 4409, enacted in 2009, significantly changed Association funding. Current statute provides that insured losses and operating expenses be paid from the following funding sources, in order: TWIA premiums and other revenue; the Catastrophe Reserve Trust Fund (CRTF), an account held by the Comptroller containing the net gains from TWIA operations from prior years; up to $1 billion in Class 1 public securities, repaid from premiums and other revenue of the Association; up to $1 billion in Class 2 public securities, repaid 70% by surcharges to coastal policyholders and 30% by assessments to insurance companies; up to $500 million in Class 3 public securities, repaid by assessments to insurance companies. The Association is authorized to purchase reinsurance to provide additional capacity for paying losses and operating expenses.

TWIA is one of 36 residual market property insurers in the United States. These residual markets are created by state law to provide consumers with another alternative for insurance when coverage is unavailable through traditional private sector insurance carriers. When the private sector determines the risk of loss is too great and is unwilling to write coverage voluntarily, applicants can seek coverage through the residual market mechanism.

A TWIA policy covers wind and hail damage only.

First, contact your insurance agent or if you don’t have an agent, locate a Texas-licensed property and casualty agent. Your insurance agent will help you determine whether you are eligible for TWIA coverage. To be eligible for a TWIA policy, applicants and properties must meet certain criteria defined by the Texas Legislature:

  • Applicants must have been denied coverage by at least one insurer in the private market
  • Properties must be located in the designated catastrophe area
  • Properties must be certified by TDI (WPI-8/WPI-8-E) or TWIA (WPI-8-C) as having been built to applicable building codes, with limited exceptions
  • Properties located in specified flood zones (V zones) that were constructed, altered, remodeled, or enlarged after September 1, 2009 and that can obtain flood insurance through the NFIP must provide proof of flood insurance coverage
  • Properties must be in an insurable condition as specified by the Association in the Plan of Operation

Finally, if you are eligible for coverage, your agent can submit an application for coverage to TWIA on your behalf. TWIA policyholders may choose to pay TWIA directly or through their agent. Visit our Payments webpage to learn more. Once the application is approved, TWIA will issue the policy.

No, TWIA does not sell policies directly to the consumer nor does the Association have agents that sell policies on behalf of the Association.

The agent represents the consumer when placing coverage with TWIA. It is important to discuss your coverage needs and options with your agent. Consumers can find additional assistance regarding their commercial and property insurance needs through www.helpinsure.com, a free service of the Texas Department of Insurance and Office of Public Insurance Counsel.

To find an agent near you click here.

TWIA policies provide coverage for residential and commercial property located within the area designated by the Commissioner of Insurance. This area currently includes all 14 first tier coastal counties and parts of Harris County east of Highway 146. The specific counties are Aransas, Brazoria, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Galveston, Jefferson, Kenedy, Kleberg, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio and Willacy. When the property is located inside the city limits and east of Highway 146, the following portions of Harris County are also included: La Porte, Morgan’s Point, Pasadena, Seabrook, and Shore Acres.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created to provide property owners with flood insurance that is typically not covered under standard homeowners policies. Visit Floodsmart for information on how to obtain coverage.

The average premium on a TWIA residential policy is approximately $2,000 (as of 6/30/2023).

TWIA rates determine the amount of premium charged to each TWIA policyholder. Adequate rates help ensure TWIA can meet its financial obligations. Rates are set by the TWIA Board of Directors and subject to review by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI). Texas Insurance Code Chapter 2210 requires that TWIA rates be reasonable, adequate, and not unfairly discriminatory. Premiums are calculated based on standard rating factors, including amount of insurance, type of construction, deductible amount, and any optional additional coverages. Premium credits are available for items certified as being built to recent windstorm building codes.

For both New Business and Renewals, agents earn 16% of the premium amount for Residential and Commercial policies, and 12% of the premium amount for Manufactured Home policies. No commissions are earned on any surcharges.

Agents can either be paid via an Automated Clearing House (ACH) direct deposit transaction or via check. The most efficient way to receive commission payments it through ACH direct deposit.

The enrollment forms are available on the TWIA website. Click on the Agents tab near the top of the screen, and then click on TWIA Agent Resource Center in the navigation bar. Under the heading entitled TWIA Registration, you will find a link to the ACH Authorization Form. Click on the link and print out the form for completion.

A commission statement will be emailed to the commission contact designated by the Taxing Entity for your agency. Each month TWIA will provide a detailed commission statement listing all transactions made to policies in your book of business.

Commission statements and payments are issued on the fifth business day of the month after the monthly statement is received. For payments handled via ACH direct deposit, the statement and payment notification will be sent via email and the payment deposited directly into the account you have specified. For payments handled via check, the statement will be sent via email and payment will be mailed via USPS; please allow additional time for transit.

The Taxing entity is the party responsible for paying taxes on the commission earned by the agent or agency, and therefore is the recipient of the statement.

Commission will be paid on the later of: 1) the effective date of the issued policy and/or endorsement effective date, or 2) the process date (if a policy is in an issued state and not a binder).
Examples:

  • Today is May 1. A policy has been issued with an effective date of June 1. The commission for this policy would be reflected on the June commission statement, and included in the June ACH payment.
  • Today is June 15. A policy application was processed and effective on May 1, but put under a 60-day “binder” due to missing underwriting information, e.g., no WPI-8/WPI-8-E/WPI-8-C exists for a re-roof indicated on the application. The missing information is provided 45 days later, on June 15, and the policy is issued. The commission for this policy would be reflected on the June commission statement, and included in the June ACH payment. Note: To view your policies and their status, please log in to the TWIA Agent Portal system and select “Policy” from the menu at the top of the page. You may view your list of existing policies and their status. Policy applications that are in “Return Application” status are under binder and not in an issued status.

You may contact TWIA Policy Services by email at agentservices@twia.org, or call them at (800) 788-8247, Option 3, for another copy of your statement.

It will be necessary for a new ACH form to be completed. Also, a voided check from the new bank account will be required. Email these documents to agentservices@twia.org.

Whether a policy is Issued or placed under a 60 day binder, TWIA will mail your office a 30-day invoice representing the gross premium minus the net payment received (in most cases the amount invoiced will be the commission withheld by the agent when the application was submitted). If the invoice is not paid, cancellation of the binder or policy will follow.

The commission statement will reflect the commission earned based on gross premium (even if the commission originally was withheld by the agent).

In most cases, invoices are due in 30 days. There may be an occasion when a 14-day payment deadline will be enforced, specifically when you are in receipt of the “Minimum Acceptable Payment” letter.

The agent must get the difference in premium to TWIA within the thirty (30) day invoice period.

Premium refunds are mailed directly to the policyholder or premium financier.

No. This service is for policyholders only. Agents can still make electronic payments on behalf of their clients through TWIA Policy Center.

It depends on what payment method the policyholder chooses:

  • eCheck: No fee
  • Credit, debit, or ATM card: The policyholder will be charged 1.99-2.99% of the policy premium payment (see percentages here). This is a convenience fee charged by the credit card processing company and TWIA does not receive any funds from it. The fee is non-refundable.

The best way to know a policyholder’s payment status is to check their policy status in Policy Center (please refer to the New Business Submissions and Renewal Status job aids for details on how to check a policy status). As was the case before policyholder online payments, agents are not notified when TWIA receives a payment from a policyholder regardless of whether we receive it by mailed check or through the online payment website. However, agents do receive a notification when the policyholder’s Declarations page is available in TWIA Policy Center after TWIA receives the payment and issues the policy.

The TWIA online account number can be found on the payment coupon mailed to policyholders in their renewal packet, on the billing statement, or on the notice of cancellation (see an example coupon here). Digital copies of correspondence to policyholders are available to agents in TWIA Policy Center.

TWIA’s systems update the third-party online payment website three times a day: at 6:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. CT. Policy applications become available for online payment after the next file transfer time. Renewals become available for online payment 60 days before the policy expiration date.

Payments submitted after 5:00 p.m. CT will be processed the next business day according to Underwriting guidelines. Payments will be posted using the date they were submitted in the online payment website.

No. If the agent makes a change to the policy application after the renewal offer is mailed, the policyholder will not be notified of the change – or how it affects the premium payment amount due. This is important because the policyholder may make a payment for the amount due in their renewal offer without realizing that additional money is still owed. And they will not know additional money is still owed until they receive a Notice of Cancellation. Please alert your policyholders if you make any such changes to their application. Agents can access the policyholder’s Billing Statement to verify any amount still owed in Policy Center and send policyholders a copy.

Renewal offer letters are mailed 60 days before the policy expiration date.

Effective January 14, 2021, agents can make ACH payments by eCheck or Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) up to $99,999. Before January 14, 2021, the maximum was $20,000.

Our claims process webpage has information about the TWIA claims process as well as guides on popular claims topics like: how to avoid fraud, factors that affect the claim payment amount, what to do if your claim payment isn’t enough to cover repairs, what to do if your mortgage company is on your check, and more.

Texas FAIR Plan (TFPA) is a separate company from TWIA and provides coverage for all areas of the state. For more information about TFPA, please visit their website.

Any Certificates of Compliance issued by the Texas Department of Insurance (WPI-8/WPI-8-E) are searchable on the TDI online database. Property owners looking for a Certificate of Compliance issued by TWIA (WPI-8-C) between January 1, 2017 and May 31, 2020, can contact us to request a copy by emailing agentservices@twia.org or calling (800) 231-5360.

Certificates issued by TWIA are not currently available on TDI’s website, nor are they available on TWIA’s website. TWIA accepted applications for WPI-8-Cs from January 1, 2017 to May 31, 2020. If you are looking for a Certificate of Compliance before or after that date range, it would have been processed and/or issued by TDI.

As of June 1, 2020, all Certificates of Compliance (WPI-8/WPI-8-E) are issued by the Texas Department of Insurance as part of its Windstorm Inspection Program. Please visit the TDI website to learn more about their certification process.

The best resource to ask is your agent, they will be able to explain your policy limits and how the coverages apply to you.

During the property repair process, you may have to upgrade your repair method or materials to comply with local building ordinances and laws. This is especially common in older buildings that may not have kept pace with changing code requirements through the years. Increased Cost of Construction (ICC) coverage is insurance to help pay for these extra costs. It is not automatically included in TWIA policies and must be added through an endorsement: TWIA-431 for residential policies and TWIA-432 for commercial policies. For more information about ICC, visit our Increased Cost of Construction (ICC) Coverage webpage.

Your agent will assist you in making any changes to the policy.

There are three ways to report a claim: 1) through Claims Center or the Policyholder Portal; 2) by calling (800) 788-8247, option 1; or 3) by contacting your agent.

Once you’ve reported your claim, a TWIA representative will contact you as soon as possible. If necessary, please make any temporary or minor repairs to protect your property from further damage. Remember to take photos of the damage, keep receipts and records of payment for any temporary repairs. Do not begin making permanent repairs until a TWIA-assigned adjuster or representative has contacted you and inspected your property. Learn more about the TWIA claims process at www.twia.org.com/claimscenter.

Visit Claims Center or the Policyholder Portal to check the status of your claim, payment information, send messages to TWIA, and find the names and contact info for representatives assigned to your claim. You can also reach us at (800) 788-8247.

The mortgagee has a financial interest in the dwelling and is required to be included as the payee on any dwelling claims. Learn more here.

TWIA recommends you report your claim as soon as possible. The deadline to report a claim is one year (365 days) from the date on which the damage to the property occurred. The Texas Department of Insurance Commissioner, on a showing of good cause, may provide an additional 180 day extension. You will need to contact the Texas Department of Insurance to request a claim extension. This is done by sending a signed letter to the Chief Clerk that explains why you weren’t able to report a claim by the one-year deadline. You may email (chiefclerk@tdi.texas.gov) or mail (Texas Department of Insurance, Chief Clerk, MC 113-2A, PO Box 12030, Austin, TX 78711-2030) the letter.

Once you report your claim, a TWIA claim representative will contact you to discuss the next steps, answer any questions you may have, as well as provide you with additional information.

TWIA will send you and your agent a Claim Notice Acknowledgment and Assignment letter. This letter will include contact information for any adjuster and/or adjusting firm assigned to inspect the damages being claimed. The adjuster will contact you to schedule an inspection.

Please keep a record of any related repair expenses and receipts, and take photos of the damage prior to making any temporary repairs. Copies of these records need to be provided to your TWIA claim representative.

Learn more about the TWIA claims process at www.twia.org/claimscenter.

If an in-person inspection is required, the field adjuster must fully inspect the damages claimed, as well as areas around the insured property that may have been damaged. We ask that you allow the TWIA representative access to the damaged and potentially damaged property as well as the surrounding areas in order to thoroughly and accurately evaluate your claim.

You can make a formal complaint about TWIA to the Texas Department of Insurance by visiting this page: www.tdi.texas.gov/consumer/complaint-home.html.

Another resource to resolve concerns about TWIA claims is the Texas Department of Insurance’s Coastal Outreach and Assistance Services Team (COAST). Click here to learn more or visit their website at www.tdi.texas.gov/consumer/disasters.html.

Insurers who are authorized to write insurance in Texas with forms approved by and rates filed with TDI are eligible to participate in the programs. These insurers must sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) and Participation Agreement to access policy data. A separate Participation Agreement must be made for each depopulation program, and as of the 2017-2018 filing, companies must re-enroll each year.

In addition, participating insurers in the Assumption Reinsurance Depopulation Program are subject to financial stress testing. A list of member companies, inclusive of both depopulation programs, is available.

Depopulation is a series of programs authorized by 2015 state law and designed to provide TWIA policyholders with alternative options for wind and hail insurance in the private market. The programs function in the following way: TWIA provides policy data to participating insurers who then make offers to assume, or transfer, TWIA policies.

Authorized by the Texas Legislature in 2015, the Voluntary Market Depopulation Program allows participating insurers to make offers on TWIA policies one at a time at policy renewal. A Texas-authorized insurer must execute a NDA and Participation Agreement to access TWIA policy data and identify policies. Offers are made on an ongoing basis at the time of renewal.

The insurer works with the policyholder’s current agent, either through appointment or a limited servicing agreement, in order to present the offer to the policyholder. The policyholder and agent may accept or reject any offer.

Effective Friday, May 17, 2024, TWIA has stopped automatically renewing commercial policies as authorized by legislation passed last year.

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