La. lawmakers are among the thousands losing insurance coverage
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Some Louisiana legislators are among the thousands of people who have lost their property insurance even as we move deeper into the hurricane season.
Rep. Kyle Green is a Democrat representing a portion of Jefferson Parish.
“Me personally, I will be one of those individuals to where the insurance company, my homeowner’s insurance company actually went belly up and we’re now, it’s now in receivership,” said Green.
Like a lot of homeowners, he is forced to look for coverage elsewhere.
“So, I got a notice in the mail basically saying you can either go to LA Citizens which has to be, their premiums are higher because that’s statutory or you can go to another, I guess smaller insurance company, which I have no knowledge as whether that company is reputable or not, so that does cause you a bit of angst heading into what appears to be a very active hurricane season,” said Green.
Sen. Kirk Talbot a Republican representing Jefferson Parish lost his coverage, too.
“My insurance company dropped me and I got picked up by another one,” said Talbot.
Thirty-thousand policyholders will have their coverage canceled on June 22 and others on June 30 according to the Louisiana Department of Insurance.
“The insurance companies have taken a really bad hit, we had five companies that have already gone into receivership which means they failed. We had 10 companies pull out,” says Talbot.
Veteran insurance agents like Ross Fayard are screaming for help for their clients. He says his agency has 798 customers who are losing coverage this month.
“This needs to be fixed and the only one that can fix it is Jim Donelon, he needs to fix it or he needs to resign,” said Fayard. “I’m not mad at Mr. Donelon because I wouldn’t want his position for anything in the world right now but come on man, let’s get this fixed.”
FOX 8 requested interviews with Commissioner Donelon on Tuesday and Wednesday but his spokesman said a press conference will be held on Thursday in Baton Rouge.
Talbot was asked if Donelon can alleviate some of the pain policyholders are feeling. He said Donelon cannot wave a magic wand and force insurers to stay in Louisiana.
“No, and what the insurance commissioner has done and a good thing in the wake of Katrina he’s created a climate here that has attracted a lot of homeowner insurance companies. That’s one reason we have the companies we have.”
Green said, “I think that the insurance commissioner has the tools already given to him by the legislature to hold the insurance companies accountable. I think we now ask that he utilize those tools.”
During the regular legislative session which wrapped up on June 6 lawmakers passed some insurance reform measures. Talbot helped to spearhead that.
“We passed bills where insurance companies would have to simplify the process of when you have a claim when you have damage, how to get paid, you know, we did a lot of things like that. We increased penalties on insurance companies for doing what they’re supposed to be doing. That I’m proud of,” Talbot stated.
But clearly, he and some other lawmakers wanted to do more.
“Across the board, you know, I don’t think we did enough from my perspective to make sure that consumers are protected,” said Green.
Talbot believes the state’s insurer of last resort can take in those losing their coverage with private insurers.
“The good news is Citizens is in great shape. We had about 180,000 policies in Citizens in the wake of Katrina, now we were down to about 35,000, so we have room to take more. Citizens is in great financial sound shape. LIGA, the Louisiana Insurance Guaranty Association they’re in great shape, so it’s going to be a rough couple of years,” said Talbot.
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