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Louisiana entering another hurricane season in insurance crisis

2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago Thursday, May 23 2024 May 23, 2024 May 23, 2024 7:10 PM May 23, 2024 in On Your Side
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - This hurricane season, property owners are still navigating an expensive insurance market.

"I think we're very deep in an insurance crisis," said Louisiana Department of Insurance Commissioner Tim Temple.

After a tough 2020 and 2021, four hurricanes and 800,000 insurance claims, Louisiana remains in an insurance crisis. Three years later, Louisiana may still not be attractive to insurers but Temple says change is happening.

"Everybody is frustrated, we want to restore confidence in our market," said Temple.

Governor Jeff Landry signed several bills in May that Temple hopes will make Louisiana a bit more attractive to policy writers.

One of the bills takes aim at the three-year rule. Insurers who have a legacy book of business subject to the rule can choose to not renew up to 5% of those policies each year and any new policy written will not be subject to the three-year rule.

"This inhibited new carriers from coming in and it also inhibited current carriers that are here from managing their book of business," said Temple.

Another bill removes the sunset provision on the Louisiana Fortify Homes Program, a grant the state funds to applicants interested in making their roofs stronger. Dane Carmouche with Cypress Roofing says a fortified roof has added layers beneath the shingles that protect a home against severe weather and combat water intrusion.

"The insurance company won't have to pay out as much for your interior, so it'll be more protected," said Carmouche.

There are about 1,500 fortified roofs in Louisiana. Temple homes more property owners make the investment and build homes stronger to lower Louisiana's risk.

"If the home's more attractive from a risk profile then that's going to be reflected in future rates," said Temple.

Insurers will also be held to a timeline and face penalties if they don't submit claim payments in a timely manner. They'll also have to submit new rates to the commission for approval.

While these changes won't change the insurance crisis overnight, hurricane season is evident. Temple says it's important to have a post-event plan, know what to do after a storm, and check your named storm deductible.

Some of the insurance bills passed won't go into effect for a few months. Louisiana Citizens, the state's insurer of last resort still holds about 120,000 residential policies. Before the four hurricanes Citizens held about 35,000 residential policies.

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