Is TWIA a state agency?
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.
Who manages TWIA's day-to-day operations?
Day-to-day operations are managed by the TWIA General Manager, who is hired by the Board of Directors.
Who sits on the TWIA 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.
Is TWIA funded by tax revenue?
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.
What is a residual market for property insurance?
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.
What does a TWIA policy cover?
A TWIA policy covers wind and hail damage only.
How do I get a TWIA policy?
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) 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. The application must be accompanied by the full annual premium. You may use a premium finance company to finance the annual premium. Once the application is approved, TWIA will issue the policy.
Does TWIA have agents?
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
Where is the coverage area/designated catastrophe area?
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.
How can I get flood insurance?
The National Flood Insurance Program 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.
How much is a TWIA policy?
The average TWIA residential policy is $1,600 per year. Individual policy premiums will vary based on the characteristics of each policy.
How are rates determined?
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.
Do agents receive the renewal billing notice from TWIA?
Yes, TWIA sends the renewal notice to the agent.
Are TWIA policies Direct Bill?
No. At this time, Direct Bill has not been implemented; therefore, an insured must still go through an agent to pay premiums to TWIA.
Can the payment be an insured’s check, or does it have to be an agency check?
The agent may remit either the insured’s check or an agency check with the application. NOTE: If the agent is endorsing an insured’s check to TWIA because the insured made the check out to the agency, then we suggest that the agent include a notation stating, “Pay to the order of TWIA” in the endorsement on the back, so that no other party can cash the check.
What about premium-financed policies? How are they to be paid?
The agent collects the down payment and has the finance agreement signed, then sends the finance agreement to the finance company, requesting remittance of the financed amount to the agent as soon as possible. After receiving the financed amount, the agent attaches the total gross premium (including checks for the down payment and the financed amount) to the application, and sends them to TWIA.
If a premium is financed, does the finance company send payment directly to TWIA?
No. Agents should collect the down payment and have the finance agreement signed, send to the finance company and ask them to send the financed premium as quickly as possible back to the agent. Once you receive the total premium from down payment and finance company, attach checks for the Total Gross Premium to the application and send to TWIA.
Does TWIA accept an agency check as one of the approved payment methods for premiums?
Yes, however, TWIA encourages all payments, excluding those for policies financed by Wellington Premium Finance, Inc. to be paid via an insured’s check. This payment method protects the agent from being charged out of pocket expenses when a policyholder’s check is returned for Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF).
NOTE: For each Wellington-financed policy, the agent will send TWIA the Wellington finance agreement with a separate check, payable to TWIA, from the insured to cover the agent’s commission and any applicable policy waiver surcharge.
What happens if the insured’s check is returned to TWIA due to insufficient funds?
If a policy has not yet been issued, we will reject the application. If a policy already has been issued, TWIA will send a notice of cancellation.
Will renewals be billed directly to the insured?
No. The renewal notice goes to the agent as it always has. The agent will send back the signed application and total gross premium, along with any other requested information (e.g., an MSB) to TWIA. The change is that now the agent must send TWIA the total gross premium rather than the net premium.
The agent will still bill the insured, but the insured’s check should be made payable to TWIA and the agent will mail all the information in?
Yes. The renewal application goes to the agent. The agent will send back the signed application and total gross premium (not the net premium), along with any other requested information, e.g., MSB.
Is payment of the gross premium also required on Commercial lines?
Yes, this payment method applies to ALL business written by TWIA.
If the premium is escrowed, will TWIA send a bill to the mortgage company?
No, TWIA will mail the Renewal Applications to the agent of record 60 days prior to the expiration of the existing policy. TWIA will also mail the policyholder an “expiration notice.” The expiration notice is intended to alert the policyholder that the policy will be expiring and that they should inform their agent of any policy changes that should be made for the upcoming renewal. The expiration notice will be mailed 45 days prior to the expiration of the policy. A lapse notice will be sent 5 days after the expiration date of the policy, to both the agent and the policyholder that coverage expired.
If someone other than Wellington Premium Finance finances the premium, what form of payment should I send?
A payment of the Total Gross Premium + Surcharges is required. This amount may be paid by your agency’s check, the insured’s check, a cashier’s check, or a money order.
What is the amount of commission that agents earn?
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 Mobile Home policies. No commissions are earned on any surcharges.
How will I be paid my commission?
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.
How do I sign up for ACH?
The enrollment forms are available on the TWIA website. Click on the Agent tab near the top of the screen, and then click on Training and Resources 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.
How will I be able to keep up with my commissions?
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.
When will I receive my commission statement and commission payment?
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.
What is a “Taxing Entity,” and why are you sending the commission statement to that office?
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.
I didn’t receive the ACH transactions, and I know I sent in some applications last month. What happened?
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).
- 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 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 into 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.
Can I view my commission statement online?
No, it is not available online.
I lost the commission statement you emailed me, and I’ve deleted it from my emails. How do I get another copy?
You may contact TWIA Agent Services by email at email@example.com, or call them at (800) 788-8247, Option 3, for another copy of your statement.
I changed my bank account number. How do I update my ACH information?
If I have already mailed in an application with a check based on the net premium instead of gross, what is going to happen?
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.
Once a policy is issued, how would the scenario described above be reflected on the commission statement?
The commission statement will reflect the commission earned based on gross premium (even if the commission originally was withheld by the agent).
What is the amount of time allowed for paying an invoice?
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.
If a net-only premium payment is received at TWIA after the end of the year, and TWIA sends a Deficient Premium notice to the agent, how long does the agent have to send in the difference in premium?
The agent must get the difference in premium to TWIA within the thirty (30) day invoice period.
How are premium refunds handled?
Premium refunds are mailed directly to the policyholder or premium financier.
What is a declination?
A declination is either A. or B. below:
- A. A declination is a refusal by an authorized insurance company to offer new or renewal coverage for windstorm and hail, or
- B. A declination occurs when windstorm and hail coverage offered by an authorized insurance company is more restrictive than coverage available through TWIA. For example, coverage is more restrictive when the authorized insurance company offers only a high deductible or no replacement cost coverage and this coverage can be obtained through TWIA with a lower deductible or with replacement cost coverage.
From which authorized insurance company must a declination be obtained?
A declination must be obtained from an authorized insurance company that is offering new or renewal coverage for windstorm and hail somewhere within the first tier coastal counties. A surplus lines insurance company does not qualify. You may wish to check www.helpinsure.com for additional information about which commercial and residential insurance companies offer new or renewal coverage with windstorm and hail in the first tier coastal counties (listed as of the date specified on the website). You may also contact these companies directly to verify that they are authorized to and do offer windstorm and hail coverage in those counties.
What is proof of declination?
Proof of declination is documentation of the following facts:
- The fact that the declination occurred;
- The date of the declination; and
- The name of the authorized insurance company
Agents may use the Proof of Declination of Coverage form found on the Declination Requirements page on TWIA’s website to document the information required.
How many declinations of coverage are required by TWIA?
One declination is required at the time of obtaining new coverage, and a new declination is required every three years thereafter for renewal coverage.
What coastal counties are included in the first tier?
The coastal counties within the first tier are Aransas, Brazoria, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Galveston, Jefferson, Kenedy, Kleberg, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio and Willacy. The following portions of Harris County are included when located inside the city limits and east of Highway 146, (i.e., including La Porte, Morgan’s Point, Pasadena, Seabrook and Shore Acres).
What can happen if TWIA determines that a property does not have a declination?
TWIA has the authority to cancel the windstorm policy. TWIA will provide the agent and insured a 30-day Notice of Cancellation prior to cancellation. The cancellation may be rescinded if the agent or insured provide a compliant declination prior to cancellation.
Must an agent have an appointment with the authorized insurance company that provides the declination?
No. A declination can be obtained by either the agent or insured.
Is an agent expected to provide TWIA a copy of their company’s insurance guidelines as proof of declination?
No. Insurance guidelines are generally confidential and proprietary. Agents may use the Proof of Declination of Coverage form found on the Declination Requirements page on TWIA’s website to document the information required.
Is a windstorm and hail exclusion endorsement (or evidence of this exclusion on a policy declarations page) adequate proof of declination?
No. A windstorm and hail exclusion endorsement may be construed as the insured’s election to exclude coverage. Agents may use the Proof of Declination of Coverage form found on the Declination Requirements page on TWIA’s website to document the information required.
If the cost (or premium) for windstorm coverage from a TWIA policy is less than the cost for windstorm coverage offered by the insured’s companion policy, does this difference in premium qualify as a declination?
No. A declination involves either a refusal of windstorm coverage or a difference in windstorm coverage. Please refer to the definition of a declination in the requirements.
Where can I find helpful information about the claims process?
This page has infographic guides on the claims timeline, what to do if your check is not enough to cover repairs, temporary repairs, mold, appraisal and dispute resolution, what to do if your mortgage company is on your check, and more!
Are Texas FAIR Plan and TWIA the same?
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.
How do I apply for coverage?
An agent registered with TWIA can help you complete an application for coverage. To find an agent near you click here.
How do I find a Certificate of Compliance (WPI-8 or WPI-8-C) for my property?
A WPI-8 may be located on the TDI website. A WPI-8-C may be located by contacting TWIA at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 231-5360. Your agent will also be able to help you locate or obtain a Certificate of Compliance.
My home is not WPI-8 or WPI-8-C certified, how can I obtain a Certificate of Compliance?
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) administers the Windstorm Inspection Program and issues Certificates of Compliance (WPI-8) for ongoing improvements, which include new structures and qualifying changes to existing structures. You can contact TDI for an inspection at (800) 248-6032.
Effective January 1, 2017, a person may now apply to TWIA for a Certificate of Compliance (WPI-8-C) for a completed improvement. A Texas-licensed engineer may certify that the completed improvement complies with the applicable windstorm building code. The engineer will need to submit certain information to TWIA about the completed improvement in order for TWIA to issue the Certificate of Compliance (WPI-8-C).
How can I find out more about my coverage?
The best resource to ask is your agent, they will be able to explain your policy limits and how the coverages apply to you.
What is TWIA Increased Cost of Construction (ICC) coverage?
ICC is an added insurance policy that is separate from your windstorm policy, and comes attached as an endorsement. For more frequently asked questions about ICC, see the tab below titled Policyholders - Increased Cost of Construction (ICC) Coverage.
How can I make changes to my policy?
Your agent will assist you in making any changes to the policy.
My property has been damaged by wind or hail. How do I report a claim with TWIA?
To start the claims process, have your policy information available and contact our 24-hour call center at (800) 788-8247, Option 1.
Once you’ve reported your claim, a 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.
How can I find out the status of my claim?
To check the status of an existing claim, call us at (800) 788-8247, or register and log in to Claims Center to receive a claim status online. With Claims Center, you can 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.
Why is the mortgagee’s name on the check?
The mortgagee has a financial interest in the dwelling and is required to be included as the payee on any dwelling claims.
How long do I have to file a claim?
TWIA recommends you file your claim as soon as possible. The deadline to file 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 file a claim by the one-year deadline. You may email (email@example.com) or mail (Texas Department of Insurance, Chief Clerk, MC 113-2A, P.O. Box 149104, Austin, Texas 78714-9104) the letter.
What should I expect after I file a claim?
Once you file 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.
What is involved with the inspection of my property?
The claims process involves a physical inspection of 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.
Where can I make a complaint about TWIA?
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/coast.
What is TWIA Increased Cost of Construction (ICC) coverage?
Increased cost of construction (ICC) coverage is insurance to help pay extra costs of complying with building ordinances and laws in your area. ICC is an added insurance policy that is separate from your windstorm policy, and comes attached as an endorsement. Look for forms TWIA-431 (for residential policies) and TWIA-432 (for commercial policies) in your policy packet.
What repairs are typically subject to increased cost of construction (ICC)?
Your contractor or city building department should be able to provide you a complete list. Common structures subject to building ordinances include: doors, windows, garage doors, siding, roofing, foundations, and elevation requirements, or the height of the foundation above ground.
How do I know if I have TWIA Increased Cost of Construction (ICC) coverage?
Look for forms TWIA-431 or TWIA-432 in your policy packet, and review your “Declarations Page” under Coverage A Property Description. On the Declarations Page, there would be a line item for Increased Cost of Construction, and the percentage of your limit of liability that is covered. Your agent can also help you determine what amount of ICC coverage you purchased.
What is covered by ICC and what is not?
How do I know if my property repairs are subject to building laws?
There are four ways to find out.
- Contact your local contractor. Based on experience working in your area, they may already know your city’s building requirements and will most likely factor these costs into their repair estimates.
- Contact your city building department. You or your contractor may find out which ordinances or laws apply when seeking building permits. City building officials determine rebuilding requirements and may make them a condition of issuing your building permits.
- Contact TDI for windstorm certification requirements. Any building constructed, altered, remodeled, enlarged, repaired, or added to must meet the applicable building code standards for its area in order to maintain insurance through TWIA.
- Check your mail. You may receive a letter from your community’s building department indicating you have substantial damage (greater than 50% of the value of your property) and must re-build in compliance with local floodplain management rules.
Will TWIA pay for professionals to help make sure my repairs comply with building ordinances and laws?
Yes, TWIA will reimburse you up to the ICC coverage limits for reasonable costs associated with professionals like:
- Flood elevation surveyors
- Property value appraisers
- Engineers and architects
Does ICC coverage have a deadline?
Yes, policyholders are required to submit a claim within two years of the date of loss showing the extra amount they incurred to comply with building laws.
I received a letter that says I must meet building laws that will increase my costs to repair or rebuild. What are my next steps?
TWIA suggests you contact us and provide us with the following documentation:
- A copy of letters you receive about local building laws or ordinances,
- A copy of the ordinance or law that applies to your property,
- National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) elevation certificate, where applicable,
- Estimates showing the original cost of repair before the increased costs were identified, and separate estimates with the increased costs included,
- Proof of payment, such as cancelled checks or bank statements,
- Proof the repair or replacement of your property is complete, such as photos or a contractor letter, and
- Your flood claim information if you filed a flood claim with your flood insurer.
What about my FEMA ICC coverage?
If you have FEMA flood insurance, contact FEMA for your ICC coverage under your FEMA policy.
How do I contact TWIA about my ICC coverage?
TWIA has set up a special team of claims representatives for claims with extra repair costs associated with ordinances and laws.
Windstorm Certificates of Compliance (WPI-8 / WPI-8-C)
By clicking below, you may download the helpful job aid to learn about the steps to certify a completed improvement through TWIA.
How has the windstorm certification process changed?
Legislation passed in 2015 created a two-path system to certify that a structure complies with the applicable windstorm building code requirements. Effective January 1, 2017, a person may apply to TWIA for a certificate of compliance (WPI-8-C) for completed improvements. TDI continues to issue certificates of compliance (WPI-8s) for ongoing improvements.
What is considered a completed improvement?
A completed improvement is defined as:
- An improvement in which the original transfer of title from the builder to the initial owner of the improvement has occurred; or
- If a transfer under Paragraph (A) is not contemplated, an improvement that is substantially completed.
Substantially completed is defined as:
- An improvement for which the final framing stage, including attachment of component and cladding items and installation of windborne debris protection, has been completed. If the improvement's windborne debris protection consists of wood structural panels, all the panels must be present at the improvement's location but need not be installed.
How do I get a completed improvement certified?
A person lacking a WPI-8 for a completed improvement may apply to TWIA for a WPI-8-C. A Texas-licensed engineer may certify that the completed improvement complies with the applicable windstorm building code. The engineer will need to submit certain information to TWIA about the completed improvement in order for TWIA to issue the certificate of compliance (WPI-8-C).
How do I find a Texas-licensed engineer?
TWIA does not maintain a list of Texas-licensed engineers who may certify completed improvements. One possible resource is TDI’s Windstorm System website, which contains a list of TDI Appointed Qualified Inspectors. You may also visit the Texas Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors website to search for a Texas-licensed engineer that may certify completed improvements.
Please note: TWIA does not employ or contract with Texas-licensed engineers for the purpose of certifying compliance with the windstorm building code related to completed improvements. If you have an issue with or concern about an engineer related to a Certificate of Compliance (WPI-8-C) on a completed improvement, you may contact the Texas Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors for assistance or to file a complaint.
How long will it take to get a WPI-8-C after my engineer has submitted the required information to TWIA?
Issuance of a WPI-8-C will vary based on volume of submissions.
How can I find out about the status of my WPI-8-C?
You may contact our Agent Services Team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (800) 231-5360.
By clicking below, you may download the helpful job aid to learn about the steps to certify a completed improvement through TWIA.
How does the windstorm certification process affect me?
Effective January 1, 2017, any Texas-licensed engineer may apply to TWIA for a certificate of compliance (WPI-8-C) for a completed improvement. TDI will continue to maintain a list on their website of Appointed Qualified Inspectors who can conduct inspections for ongoing improvements.
What information do I need to submit to TWIA to certify a completed improvement?
A Texas-licensed engineer must submit a completed Inspection Verification and Request for Certificate of Compliance for Completed Improvements form to TWIA. The online application is available on our website. This online application form is also known as a WPI-3.
Who do I contact if I have technical questions about how to fill out the WPI-3 form?
Technical questions about the WPI-3 form should be directed to the Texas Department of Insurance’s (TDI’s) Windstorm Inspections Program. For more information, you may contact (800) 248-6032 or email@example.com.
Do I need to submit a separate WPI-3 form for each completed improvement that I want to certify?
You can submit one WPI-3 form for multiple completed improvements, if the date construction of the completed improvements began is the same.
What do I do if I need to correct information on a WPI-3 form after it has been submitted?
You can report needed corrections/errors on a submitted WPI-3 form by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (800) 231-5360.
How do I obtain a copy of the Certificate of Compliance (WPI-8-C) from TWIA?
The issued Certificate of Compliance (WPI-8-C) will be emailed to the requestor of the WPI-3 form and the property owner as long as a valid email address has been provided with the form. For a copy of the Certificate of Compliance (WPI-8-C), you may contact our Agent Services Team by emailing email@example.com. or calling (800) 231-5360.
Who are the insurers participating in the TWIA depopulation programs?
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.
What is depopulation?
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.
What is the Voluntary Market Depopulation Program?
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.
What is the Assumption Reinsurance Depopulation Program?
Authorized by the Texas Legislature in 2015, the Assumption Reinsurance Depopulation Program allows participating insurers to make annual offers on large numbers of TWIA policies. A Texas-authorized insurer may participate in the Assumption Reinsurance Depopulation Program. The insurer must execute a NDA and Participation Agreement to access TWIA policy data and identify policies. In addition, participating insurers must submit additional documentation to TWIA and TDI for further review. As of the 2017-2018 filing, companies must re-enroll in the Assumption Program on an annual basis.
The insurer must appoint the policyholder’s current agent, or enter a limited servicing agreement, in order to present offers to policyholders. Policyholders will be notified by TWIA starting on December 1 of the program year if their agent has approved an offer. If policyholders take no action, their policy will automatically be transferred to the participating insurer, or they can indicate they want to remain with TWIA by sending in a form they receive with their offer notice, or calling their agent.
What information is available to insurers participating in the depopulation programs?
State law outlines the content that can be accessed by approved insurance companies, which includes the policyholder name, insured property address, policy number, policy effective date, coverage and premium information, and building characteristics such as construction and age of the home. TWIA is responsible for keeping other policyholder information private such as bank account and phone numbers. It is important to note that social security numbers are never collected by TWIA and are not included.
Data will be provided for all TWIA policies in-force. Policyholders who do not want their information disclosed as part of the program can complete and return the Disclosure Limitation Reply Form.
Are residential and commercial included under both programs?
Yes, both depopulation programs include commercial as well as residential policies.
If policyholders want to come back at any point, can they?
Policyholders may return to TWIA at any time after accepting an offer of coverage from a participating insurer. TWIA’s general eligibility requirements, including Certificates of Compliance (WPI-8 or WPI-8-C), will apply.
How will participating insurers handle Certificates of Compliance (WPI-8 or WPI-8-C)?
Certificates of Compliance (WPI-8 or WPI-8-C) are not a statutory requirement for insurers participating in the depopulation program, so unlike TWIA, these insurance companies may not require certification. However, TWIA recommends policyholders continue to have qualifying repairs certified to avoid potential eligibility issues if the policyholder needs to return to TWIA in the future. TWIA’s general eligibility requirements, including Certificates of Compliance (WPI-8 or WPI-8-C), will apply.
Do policyholders need to get a Certificate of Compliance (WPI-8 or WPI-8-C) even if they take the offer from the depopulation insurer?
We will be communicating to policyholders and agents that although participating insurers may not require Certificates of Compliance (WPI-8 or WPI-8-C), TWIA recommends policyholders continue to get qualifying repairs certified to avoid potential eligibility issues if the policyholder needs to return to TWIA in the future. TWIA’s general eligibility requirements, including Certificates of Compliance (WPI-8 or WPI-8-C), will apply.
Is there a maximum number of policies that can be taken out?
While there is not a maximum number of policies which can be taken out, TWIA will consider its contractual debt covenants and need to maintain its financial standing in determining how many policies can be taken out of TWIA.
How do the depopulation programs work with regard to policy changes?
Regarding the Voluntary Market Depopulation Program, the new policy is written by the new insurer and that insurer is responsible for policy changes. For the Assumption Reinsurance Depopulation Program, TWIA is responsible for policy changes until the new insurer issues the policy.
Do agents have to participate?
No, depopulation is completely voluntary for all parties. Senate Bill 900 in the 2015 Legislative Session, which authorized the two current depopulation programs at TWIA, does not require that agencies or insurance companies participate in the program.
How do I know if my customers have offers?
Agents will receive notification from TWIA by mail and by email to let them know if their customers have offers. Any communications to policyholders during the policyholder period (such as reminders of the ability to remain with TWIA) will be copied to the agent by email.
What if I want the policies to stay with TWIA?
No action is required if agents wish for policies to remain with TWIA. The policy will continue with TWIA without interruption, unless you select a participating company on the TWIA Depopulation Website by October 31 of the program year.
Who are the insurers participating in the TWIA depopulation programs?
What is the process for agents contracting with depopulation companies?
- Can I make contracts with multiple depopulation companies? Yes, but if you have multiple offers on a specific policy, you are only able to select one company per policy.
- How do I contact the carriers? If a carrier has identified your policies for depopulation, they will be contacting your agency. Here is our list of participating carriers.
- I have received an offer from only one company. Does that mean I cannot go to other companies participating in the programs? You are always free to place business with any company that you are authorized to write with.
- I am a captive agent. Can I participate? It depends. Please contact your company regarding your ability to participate.
- What is TWIA's role in the contracts we make with companies? TWIA is not involved in the contracting process. All contracts are between agents and companies.
What are next steps after we choose a carrier?
Once you have a contract with a carrier, select the policies you want to approve. Beginning in December of the program year, both the depopulation company and TWIA will be contacting the policyholder with additional information.
Will agents receive the same commissions with insurers participating in depopulation?
State law outlines that offers under the Assumption Reinsurance Depopulation Program be executed under the prevailing terms, conditions, and commissions of the agent. Under statute, these terms are required to be protected for a period of three years.
Can policyholders that transfer to another insurer through depopulation come back to TWIA?
Policyholders may return to TWIA at any time after accepting an offer of coverage from a participating insurer. TWIA’s general eligibility requirements, including Certificates of Compliance (WPI-8s or WPI-8-Cs), will apply.
Do policyholders need to sign off for us to approve offers?
No. Policyholders will have the ability to indicate they would like to remain with TWIA after you approve the offers.
How do policyholders remain with TWIA?
During the policyholder phase of the program (starting in December each year), policyholders can indicate they wish to remain with TWIA, and not participate in the Assumption Reinsurance Depopulation Program. Policyholders can remain with TWIA by calling their agent or returning the detachable form in the postage paid envelope that is delivered with their notice of an offer.
Will the policy be automatically taken out?
No. Under the Assumption Reinsurance Depopulation Program, policy offers must be approved by the agent of record to be transferred to the new insurer. If the policyholder takes no action, the policy will transfer to the new insurer on June 1 of the program year. Policyholders are able to indicate they want to remain with TWIA from December 1 to May 31 of the program year, which would mean they would remain with TWIA without interruption.
What happens to policies that renew during this process?
Policies effective prior to August 1 of the program year will renew with TWIA through the standard renewal process. Policies effective on or after August 1 of the program year will renew with the depopulation company through their renewal process.
What happens if I approve an offer with one company but the policyholder wants to move to a different company?
Policyholders and agents always have the freedom to place business with the company of their choice.
When will we know the premium amount?
The depopulation company will begin renewing policies effective August 1 of the program year. You will receive renewal information, including specific premium amounts, from the depopulation company as each policy renews. Please note that the policy’s premium may be different than TWIA's premium but must be no more than 115% that of TWIA. Agents should communicate directly with depopulation insurers about premiums when entering into contracts with these companies, including any underwriting requirements that could affect premiums. For information about depopulation insurers, please follow links from our website.
What will new coverage and service look like?
Depopulation companies are required to offer comparable coverage. Specific information about underwriting rules and payment plans is available from the companies.
Are there any restrictions on the depopulation carriers about offering non-wind coverage?
Depopulation carriers must offer wind coverage for three renewals. They may also offer other products outside of the depopulation programs.
How do I learn more about insurers participating in the depopulation programs?
TWIA has communicated to participating insurers to strongly recommend they send any marketing website they may have to TWIA. When we receive such website details, they will be available on the TWIA website. You can see the list of participating companies on TWIA's website for links to individual companies' information.
Will there be additional depopulations after this round?
Yes, the Assumption Reinsurance Depopulation Program will repeat annually.
What ID and password should be used to access the TWIA Depopulation Website?
An agency with offers will be automatically registered for the TWIA Depopulation Website and sent a notification, with their existing primary contact email for TWIA set up as the user ID. Users at the agency can create a unique password upon registration. Contact our call center at (800) 208-5948 if you do not know the primary contact email or if you have any technical questions about using the website.
How do I authorize a policy offer on the TWIA depopulation website?
Agencies will receive a notice that they have offers and that they can review them on the TWIA Depopulation Website. Upon registering, the agency user will be able to see a list of their policies on the website identified for offers. Please note that before authorizing offers, the agency will need to enter into an agreement with participating insurers. Once the agency is contracted with the participating insurers, agents can toggle over the drop down that lists all companies with offers on the property, and select the one that they want to authorize for each policy.
Will policyholders be contacted by the participating insurer?
Yes and no. No; participating insurers will not contact policyholders directly to make offers, since all offers will go through you, their agent. Yes; if your policyholder receives an offer and you approve it, the policyholder will begin receiving information and paperwork from the participating insurer. Policyholders will have six months to indicate they want to remain with TWIA, from December 1 to May 31 of the program year.
Will TWIA be contacting policyholders about depopulation?
Yes, but only if you approve the offer on that policy on the TWIA Depopulation Website by October 31 of the program year. The policyholder will begin receiving information from TWIA and the depopulation company beginning December 1 of the program year, including information about how to remain with TWIA.
How about policies that have more than one offer?
For policies with more than one offer, agency users are encouraged to review any coverage information and company information that is made available to them, as well as discuss the various options with their policyholder. (If the companies provide a website with this information to TWIA; see the list of participating companies on TWIA’s website for links to individual companies’ information.) On the TWIA Depopulation Website, agents will be able to view a list of policies identified for offers and can toggle between companies to select the one they wish to authorize per policy.
Who do I contact for policy changes?
For the Assumption Reinsurance Depopulation Program, TWIA is responsible for policy changes until the new insurer issues the policy. The agent is responsible for identifying whether a policy is being transferred through the Voluntary Market Depopulation Program or the Assumption Reinsurance Depopulation Program and then deciding whether to contact TWIA or the new insurer.
How will losses be handled?
Under the Assumption Reinsurance Depopulation Program, any claims with a date of loss prior to 6/1/19 will be handled to completion by TWIA. Losses reported after the assumption but with a date of loss prior to 6/1/19 will also be handled by TWIA with monthly transfers of losses to the participating insurer.
What if agents have other questions?
For any agent questions not answered here, you can contact our call center at (800) 208-5948.
How does depopulation affect TWIA policyholders?
Depopulation encourages more insurers to write wind and hail coverage on the coast with the intention of increasing the adequacy of the market for coastal residents. The program will affect policyholders by providing more freedom of choice, although not all policyholders will receive offers of coverage through the program.
Am I going to get an offer?
Maybe. Depopulation will not affect all TWIA policyholders, as the participating insurers determine which policies to identify for offers. For some TWIA policyholders, options may increase, and for some, there will be no change.
Will my information be included in the depopulation programs?
If you are not sure whether you are eligible to receive offers, you can check the status of your account by calling TWIA or your agent. You should say that you are checking whether you have signed a Disclosure Limitation Reply Form, and you want to know whether or not your policy information is being included in the depopulation programs.
If I get an offer, what are my options?
Upon receiving an offer through the Assumption Reinsurance Depopulation Program, you can allow your policy to transfer to the new insurer by taking no action. Or, you can indicate you want to remain with TWIA by calling your agent or sending the detachable form in a pre-paid envelope (sent by TWIA with your offer notice starting on December 1 of the program year). Remaining with TWIA means your policy will stay with TWIA without interruption.
Will I need to change insurance agents?
No, policyholders are always free to work with the agent of their choice.
Can I come back to TWIA?
Policyholders may return to TWIA at any time after accepting an offer of coverage from a participating insurer. TWIA’s general eligibility requirements, including Certificates of Compliance (WPI-8 or WPI-8-C), will apply.
Do I need to get a Certificate of Compliance (WPI-8 or WPI-8-C) even if I take the offer from the participating insurer?
Although participating insurers may not require Certificates of Compliance (WPI-8 or WPI-8-C), TWIA recommends you continue to get qualifying repairs certified in the event that in the future you need to come back to TWIA for your windstorm policy. TWIA’s general eligibility requirements, including Certificates of Compliance (WPI-8 or WPI-8-C), will apply.
Will insurance companies be contacting me directly?
Not initially. Companies will not contact you directly to make offers, since all offers will go through your agent. If your agent approves the company’s offer, then, yes, you will begin receiving information and paperwork from the participating insurer starting on December 1 of the program year. You will have six months to decide whether to remain with TWIA, or whether to participate in the Assumption Reinsurance Depopulation Program.
Will my rates go up if I switch insurance companies?
Insurers participating in the Assumption Reinsurance Depopulation Program are required to offer rates comparable to TWIA (not more than a 15% higher premium) for a period of three years. After the three years, the participating insurer is able to charge any rate filed with the Texas Department of Insurance.
What if I need to make a change to my policy?
If you allow your policy to be transferred to a participating insurer, you may wonder who to contact about policy changes. Your agent is the best resource to help inform you whether the policy changes should be sent to TWIA or the new company. Contacting your agent is the appropriate first step whether you are participating in the Voluntary Market Depopulation Program or the Assumption Reinsurance Depopulation Program.
How do I file a claim after my policy has been assumed by the new carrier?
When reporting a loss, please verify the date of loss to determine how to file.
- For claims with a date of loss before 12:01 AM on June 1, 2019, call the TWIA Call Center at (800) 788-8247.
- For claims with a date of loss on or after 12:01 AM on June 1, 2019, identify the name of your new insurance company below, and follow instructions about how to file a claim.
For policyholders who have decided to move to a new insurer, click the following link to read more about the claims process.
Why did I receive the TWIA Privacy Notice and Disclosure Limitation Reply Form?
TWIA has created a voluntary market depopulation program to give policyholders more options for windstorm and hail coverage. This program will allow private market insurance companies to access certain TWIA policyholder information via a password-protected web page. Insurance companies can then use this information to determine if they want to offer insurance to TWIA policyholders (through the policyholders’ current agents).
What information is available to carriers through the Voluntary Market Depopulation Program?
Available content will include policyholder name, address, policy number, policy effective date, coverage and premium information, and building characteristics. Social Security numbers, bank account information, and phone numbers will NOT be provided through the program.
How will TWIA share my information with third parties?
The information will only be available to insurance companies authorized by the Texas Department of Insurance to write property insurance in Texas. TWIA does not give or sell your information to non-affiliated third parties except as required by law.
You may opt out of the process and exclude your information from disclosure by completing the Disclosure Limitation Reply Form and returning it to TWIA.
I opted out. When is the opt out effective?
Policyholders who completed and returned their Disclosure Limitation Reply ("Opt Out") Form during the initial opt out period will not have their information included in the program.
Following TWIA’s receipt of an Opt Out Form, the policyholder’s information will be excluded from the next month’s program data.
I opted out but would like to receive offers of insurance from other insurance companies—what should I do?
Complete the attached Disclosure Limitation Release Form (Opt In) and return to TWIA by email at firstname.lastname@example.org