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Tim Temple lays out plans as he takes over insurance commissioner post

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BATON ROUGE - Louisiana's next insurance commissioner said he will focus his attention on making sure Louisiana is competitive with neighboring states as he addresses a shortage of companies providing coverage.

Appearing Wednesday on "2une In," Tim Temple said that will require a hard look at the role of lawmakers and government agencies, as well as the courts.

Temple said storms like hurricanes Hilary and Idalia are examples of events that will no doubt impact the industry, but noted there's not much that can be done to prevent that.

"What we can control is our regulatory environment," he said. "We can control our legislative, our legal environment.

"We compete against other states for insurance companies to come and want to write (policies in) Louisiana... We need to make the regulatory environment more friendly, easier to deal with, while also holding companies accountable."

Temple said that includes efforts to ensure legitimate claims are paid in a timely manner. 

Temple will assume office behind outgoing insurance commissioner Jim Donelon, who has held the post since 2006. He challenged -- and came close to defeating -- Donelon four years ago.

Now, the longtime industry executive from Baton Rouge will have the opportunity to reshape the office and implement his vision for it.

Temple's only opposition after qualifying withdrew from the race in mid-August.

Temple said the early end of the campaign allows him to concentrate on the challenges that lie ahead. He told WBRZ he has begun conversations with some of the companies he hopes to lure -- or keep -- in Louisiana.

"I'm talking to the consumer advocacy groups, too, because we want markets, but they need to be treated fairly," he said. "At the end of the day, you want lower rates. That means competition. And competition means we need more companies."

While many Louisiana residents are coping with skyrocketing rates, others are having difficulty finding anyone who will write a policy at any price.

The recently enacted "Insure Louisiana Incentive Program" earmarked $45 million as seed money for 50 thousand new homeowners policies across the state.

The aim is to remove those homeowners from the "option of last resort" -- the state-created Citizens Property Insurance Corporation.

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