As homeowners insurance grows more expensive, policies could be harder to come by

Updated: May. 16, 2021 at 9:00 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Hurricanes Laura, Delta, and Zeta beat up the Louisiana coast in 2020, dotting blue roofs across the gulf coast.

“It really just feels like we’ve hit the brakes and carriers are reacting,” said Alyssa Bourgeouis.

All those storms cost nearly $10 billion in insurance claims and now homeowners are seeing the result hit their pocketbook on their insurance bill. Alyssa Bourgeois with Eustis Insurance says she’s now walking several homeowners shocked at the increase through the process.

“I’d say any policy that’s coming in for renewal anywhere between 5 percent and 20 percent is really what we’re seeing. If I had to pick a trend I would say it’s the homes that have older roofs,” said Bourgeois.

She explained how since Katrina it seems insurance carriers see New Orleans roofs and properties as higher liability.

“Most of the roofs were replaced 2005 to 2006 right after Katrina. They’re called 20-year roof 25-year roofs. They’re at the end of their useful life,” said Bourgeois.

Louisiana insurance commissioner Jim Donelon says it is concerning it’s costing homeowners more, but expects those figures to go down as long as devastating hurricanes stay away this year.

“It’s not as affordable as we would like it to be for consumers but from a solvency point of view of the companies doing business in our state no, we are monitoring that closely,” said Donelon.

While Bourgeois says carriers are still writing homeowners policies she says some companies have made it more challenging to qualify for their policies including large national carriers.

“A big misconception, those carriers have not been writing new coverage in New Orleans since Katrina so you can call Allstate and State Farm and get a true State Farm or Allstate policy or Farm Bureau policy or Liberty Mutual policy. They have other markets, different carriers that are not admitted that they’re using kind of under their All State name but they’re not through those traditional companies… there’s definitely a combination of carriers not writing new coverage pulling out all together or companies just saying we’re not going to write a new home and less the roof is 10 years or newer,” said Bourgeois.

While shopping around may seem like the best option, she says tread carefully, and maybe just spend some time on the phone with your insurance agent.

“I do think it is really important to maintain coverage with the carrier if it’s affordable because you do have protection in Louisiana if you’ve been with the company longer than three years,” said Bourgeois.

Donelon said the only carrier that does not write homeowners insurance in Louisiana is Nationwide.

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