As Texas legislators consider how to pursue insurance policies, local consumer advocates in the Bay Area are encouraging homeowners to get involved.

The gist

Ahead of a Sept. 17 hearing on the economic challenges of rising insurance premiums, the Texas House State Affairs Committee is seeking input from Texas homeowners concerned with unmanageable insurance rates.

As part of that effort, more than 200 people attended a public meeting June 27 to discuss rising premiums at the Bay Area Community Center, 5002 E. NASA Parkway, Seabrook. Consumer advocate John Cobarruvias hosted the meeting, with those in attendance including consumer advocacy organization Texas Watch and staff from the offices of Texas Sen. Mayes Middleton, R-Galveston; Texas Rep. Dennis Paul, R-Houston; Rep. Mary Ann Perez, D-Houston; and Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park.

Event attendee Lisa Roth, a Clear Lake homeowner for over 24 years who began selling real estate in the area in 2017, said when she first bought her home, her homeowners insurance rates didn’t significantly rise from year to year, even after she made a few claims, but that has changed.

“Now, it’s four months' worth of mortgage payments,” Roth said.

Community Impact previously reported several storms, including Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Ike, as well as inflation and supply chain issues have contributed to rising insurance costs due to past shortages in lumber and other materials.

However, that explanation hasn’t convinced residents such as Roth.

“That argument carried water a few years ago ... when we had the supply chain crisis going on,” Roth said. “Prices have gone down for building materials compared to how they were. It doesn't hold water anymore.”

The background

According to an S&P Global Study Texas report from last December, Texas had the nation’s highest effective rate change of 23%, more than double the national weighted average of 11%.

The national average for homeowners insurance is $2,230 per year for $300,000 in dwelling coverage, according to Bankrate. In Texas, the average homeowners insurance premium is nearly $4,000, Texas Watch Executive Director Wendell Ware said.

Quote of note

“I’m glad the state has realized there is yet another insurance crisis in Texas and are soliciting input from consumers,” Cobarruvias said. “The hearing is an opportunity for citizens to voice their concerns about the insurance crisis.”

Ware said some Texas homeowners are priced out of buying a home because they can’t afford the premiums on insurance.

The value of the homeowners insurance market in Texas is $15 billion, Ware said.

Stay tuned

Those interested in attending the hearing on economic challenges impacting insurance premiums can do so at the Texas State Capitol, 1100 Congress Ave., Austin, on Sept. 17 at 9 a.m.

Homeowners can also send communications to their respective representatives.