Texas approves windstorm rate increase

AUSTIN, TX Geeslin approved rate increases of 12.3 percent for residential policies and 15.6 percent for commercial. They take effect Feb. 1.

Texas law caps rate changes at 10 percent, but the Texas Insurance Department is allowed to suspend the cap after catastrophic losses. Damages inflicted by Hurricane Ike in September are expected to cost in the billions of dollars.

The state-chartered association became the wind damage insurer for 14 Texas coastal counties and part of Harris County when many private-sector companies largely stopped selling coverage after hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. It's funded in part by insurance companies that do business in Texas.

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