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Article # 0021

WINDSTORM DESIGN IN TEXAS

WHEN IS IT REQUIRED

 By  Terry Dyson, PE

  

When does a professional engineer have the responsibility to design for windstorm criteria in Texas? 

 

TCPIA, TWIA, TDI & WID:

The TCPIA, TWIA, TDI & WID are not initials for sports teams, television stations, television networks or cable networks. 

TDI is the acronym for the Texas Department of Insurance. 

TCPIA is the acronym for the Texas Catastrophe Property Insurance Association.  In 1970, Corpus Christi was hit by Hurricane Celia resulting in an estimated $500,000,000 of property damage.  Due to the losses by the insurance companies, the insurance companies started restricting windstorm policies along the Texas Gulf Coast.  In response, the TCPIA was created in 1971 by the Texas Legislature to provide windstorm and hail insurance coverage for properties located along the Texas Gulf Coast due to the voluntary insurance market in Texas restricting windstorm policies along the Texas Gulf Coast after Corpus Christi was hit by Hurricane Celia. 

The TCPIA was renamed to the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) in 1997.  

The WID is an acronym for the Windstorm Inspection Division of the Texas Department of Insurance.  With the amount of damage that resulted from Hurricane Alicia in 1983 which a considerable amount was related to a lack of enforcement of building codes, the TDI worked with the state legislature to form the Windstorm Inspection Division which was created by HB 2012 and it went into effect on January 1, 1988. 

The Texas Department of Insurance manages the TWIA, the WID and the windstorm design criteria. 

Areas Covered by the TWIA:

The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association covers the Texas Gulf Coast counties of Aransas, Brazoria, Calhoun, Cameron, Changers, Galveston, Jefferson, Kenedy, Kleberg, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio and Willacy. 

The TWIA also covers designated communities in Harris County that are east of State Highway 146.  (Pasadena, Morganís Point, Shoreacres and La Porte)

Municipalities may adopt the windstorm provisions even though not located in the defined windstorm areas along the Texas Gulf Coast.

How the TWIA Functions:

The TWIA issues insurance policies to property owners along the Texas Gulf Coast region and allocates losses back to the property casualty insurance industry insuring properties in Texas.  All property casualty insurance companies doing business in Texas are required to be members in the TWIA if they write insurance coverage that includes windstorm.    

The TWIA has a maximum loss payout of $1.3 billion dollars at which time the State of Texas becomes the re-insurer of the TWIA for losses exceeding $1.3 billion dollars. 

How to Obtain a TWIA Policy:

TWIA policies can be issued on new and existing structures.  To obtain a TWIA policy, a building owner, builder or agent has to request an inspection of the structure from either the TDI Windstorm Inspection Division or a Texas Licensed Professional Engineer appointed by the TDI.  The request for inspection is made by use of the Application for Windstorm Inspection (WPI-1).  For new structures, the application has to be issued before construction begins.  

The structure is then inspected by the windstorm inspector or licensed engineer for compliance to the appropriate building codes.  If the structure is found to be compliant, a Certificate of Compliance (WPI-8) is issued by the TDI and only by the TDI to the appropriate insurance agent. 

The TWIA policy for windstorm and hail coverage will be issued by the TWIA once the Certificate of Compliance is submitted by the insurance agent writing the policy for the structure in question. 

Building owners along the Gulf Coast of Texas are not required to obtain a TWIA windstorm policy. 

Structures constructed prior to January 1, 1988, that were previously insured by a Texas licensed insurance company or that complied with the building codes at the time of construction are grandfathered for eligibility for a TWIA windstorm policy.

Windstorm Resistant Construction & Building Codes:

The damage across Florida from Hurricane Andrew in 1992 demonstrated that the current building codes were not sufficient to address hurricane created windstorms.  The TDI engineering staff with assistance from the Texas Tech Engineering Department created the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association Building Codes for Windstorm Resistant Construction based on ASCE-7 standards.  The new codes became effective on September 1, 1998. 

The Texas Department of Insurance adopted the 2000 International Residential Code (IRC) and the 2000 International Building Code (IBC) with Texas Revisions (amendments) in January 2003 and the new codes became effective February 1, 2003.

The Texas Department of Insurance adopted the 2003 International Residential Code (IRC) and the 2003 International Building Code (IBC) with Texas Revisions (amendments) in July 2204 and the new codes became effective January 1, 2005.

The IRC and the IBC are copyrighted by the International Code Council (ICC). 

Windstorm Design and the Professional Engineer:

Windstorm design can be driven by owners, insurance requirements or local code requirements.  The local municipal jurisdiction may also adopt additional amendments to the IRC, the IBC and the TDI windstorm Texas Revisions.  The design engineer should be cognizant of the multiple code requirements that may apply to the structure that he is designing.  This is the professional engineerís responsibility to do the necessary investigation to determine the applicable codes for the project that the engineer is designing.  

Available Information:

The Texas Department of Insurance and the ICC maintain contact telephone numbers and web sites to provide information and copies of the codes, forms and other information.  The design professional should make use of the available information.  The written codes should be the basis for answers to the design professionalís questions.  

Information may be obtained from:

TDI:                             www.tdi.state.tx.us

 

WID of the TDI:         Windstorm@tdi.state.tx.us

                                    800-248-6032

     

ICC:                            www.iccsafe.org

1-888-422-7233-888-I (422-7233)

 

The following information and other information can also be obtained or referenced/linked from the TDI web site. 

 

Windstorm Forms:

 

Engineer Forms:

 

TWIA Forms:

        Form BC-10-85 TWIA form for Building Certification

 

Building Code:

 

Construction Details:

 

Bibliography 

 

The information utilized in this writing was obtained from information contained at the following web site.

 

  www.tdi.state.tx.us


Article # 0021       TEST QUESTIONS:

1.   What does the acronym TDI stand for in this article?   

  1. The Texas Drivers Institute

  2. The Texas Department of Insurance

  3. Total Design Inspection

  4. Texas Drought Insurance

2.   What does the acronym TWIA stand for in this article? 

  1. Texas West Institute of Artists

  2. Texas Wide International Airport

  3. Texas Windstorm Insurance Association

  4. Total Wind Insurance Allocation

3.   The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association covers ...

  1. the Texas Gulf Coast.

  2. designated communities in Harris County that are east of State Highway 146.

  3. municipalities that adopt the windstorm provisions.

  4. a. and b.

4.   How many counties are included in the Texas Gulf Coast?

  1. 16

  2. 14

  3. 12

  4. 10

5.   What is the maximum loss payout for the TWIA?  

  1. $13 billion

  2. $3 billion

  3. $1.3 billion

  4. $13 million

6.   What happens if the TWIA's maximum loss payout is exceeded?   

  1. Any claims submitted after the maximum loss payout are rejected

  2. All claims are adjusted and paid at a reduced rate.

  3. The State of Texas becomes the re-insurer.

  4. The Federal Emergency Management Agency becomes the re-insurer.

7.   TWIA policies can be issued on _____ structures.

  1. new and existing

  2. single family

  3. commercial

  4. single story

8.   To obtain a TWIA policy, a building owner, builder or agent must ...

  1. request an inspection of the structure.

  2. submit a Windstorm Protection Insurance compliance certificate.

  3. complete a Certificate of Compliance form.

  4. All of the above

9.   Hurricane Celia, that hit Corpus Christi in 1970, caused an estimated ____ in property damage.

  1. $5 billion

  2. $1 billion

  3. $500 million

  4. $100 million

10.  Windstorm design can be driven by __________..

  1. owners

  2. insurance requirements

  3. local code requirements

  4. All of the above

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