The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association called an emergency board meeting this afternoon to discuss the Texas Department of Insurance’s decision to put it on administrative oversight. “This form of supervision is sometimes referred to … as supervision light,” said Michael Perkins, a TWIA board member.
TWIA is a semi-state agency that provides wind insurance for homes near the coast. Controversy has surrounded TWIA following hurricanes Ike and Dolly, including allegations of claims fraud and a heated political tort-reform battle with Houston-based trial lawyer Steve Mostyn.
Last Tuesday, representatives from TWIA testified in front of the House Insurance Committee, withstanding lawmakers' harsh criticism of TWIA's "handling of claims, lawsuits and personnel matters,” said Garry Kaufman, chairman of the TWIA Board. Following the committee hearing, TDI sent a letter to TWIA General Manager Jim Oliver requesting all of the personnel files of two employees who unexpectedly left TWIA in December with large severance packages — Reggie Warren and Bill Knarr. Danny Saenz, senior associate commissioner of TDI, also requested a “narrative" explaining the departure of the two employees, and all information regarding “inappropriate, unprofessional, or unethical conduct” that may have occurred.
It is unclear whether Warren and Knarr resigned or were asked to leave, and why they received such large severance packages. Warren received $110,000 and a Ford pick-up truck, and Knarr received $47,000.
Oliver says TDI representatives visited his office this morning and explained the implications of administrative oversight and TDI’s requests. After introducing the TDI representatives to his senior staff, Oliver says they discussed the internal workings of TWIA, especially the claims process, at length.
TWIA has provided TDI with 37 claim files regarding Warren and Knarr so far, Oliver says. Administrative oversight also means TDI wants to be involved in the process of hiring a new vice president of claims. “They’d like to be involved in the process [from] the standpoint of reviewing resumes. … They wouldn’t necessarily like to interview anybody,” Oliver said.