Money Matters - Simplified

Ike's winds may hit Texas taxpayers

Houston -- Taxpayers in Texas may have to pony up about half of the tab for wind damage caused by Hurricane Ike, state officials said.

Currently, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association has $2.1 billion available to pay for the storm's wind damage claims, about half of what it may need, the Houston Chronicle reported Thursday.

"Rates are going to go up," state Rep. Craig Eiland said. "But, the immediate need is making sure people have the opportunity to file their claims."

The TWIA, created to help make windstorm insurance more affordable, has 142,566 policies and $42 billion in exposure, the newspaper reported. The bill expected from claims associated with Hurricane Ike could reach $4.2 billion, the Chronicle said.

"It could go higher and a lot lower," said Jim Oliver, the program's executive director.

To date, 23,000 claims have been filed, the Chronicle reported.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International.