Insurance agents fear rising homeowners insurance as companies leave Louisiana

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 9:49 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -Houma native Lauren Rohlfs says she still has damage to her mobile home, but with a cryptic answer from her Maison insurance agent, she’s fearful if she’ll ever receive the checks needed to get the work done.

“I called to ask them if they’re canceling policies and she said ‘well, I’m not really supposed to answer those kinds of questions’… I’m still waiting for them to pay out my claim from Ida,” said Rohlfs.

Rohlfs hopes she’s in a better position as she recently renewed, but in a release, Florida-based Fed Nat announced Maison will no longer renew policies beginning January 2022. After Ida, insurance commissioner Jim Donelon says they expect six carriers all together to pull out of the state.

“Over the past 15 years, many national carriers downsize their exposure, not just in our state but in all coastal states,” said Donelon.

“We are in much better shape than we were when Katrina hit,” Donelon said. “When Katrina hit, Citizens was our third-largest property insurer… I think those 30 small regional companies that we attracted to the state, dozens of those will be there looking for business when these half dozen companies are gone from our state as a result of insolvency.”

However, Eustis insurance agent Alyssa Bourgeois says with fewer insurance companies, it poses a simple supply and demand issue for affordable insurance for homeowners.

“What we’re seeing post-Ida, we barely have any carriers we can quote,” Bourgeois said. “So, while the rates are rising we no longer have 10 or 15 companies we can approach to check carriers and check pricing all over. It is nearly impossible to place insurance for a home closing that’s affordable because in the past we used to have 15 or 20 options. Sometimes I have one option which is insane.”

Bourgeois says the market is cyclical though she cautions homeowners should be prepared for fewer, more expensive insurance options.

“It really was that, for several years after Katrina, Citizen,s the insurer of last resort, was kind of a go-to and that may be how it goes for a year, two years we really don’t know. Absolutely the message is to be patient and do whatever you can do to make your current policy affordable to renew it work with your agent to see what you can do,” said Bourgeois.

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