Insurance Commissioner Donelon addresses Citizens’ website issues

Tens of thousands need new coverage due to cancellations by insurers
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 4:55 PM CDT
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Houses in the New Orleans area.
Houses in the New Orleans area.(Source: WVUE)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -As tens of thousands of people try to buy new insurance coverage the website for Louisiana Citizens, the state’s insurer of last resort, is overwhelmed and Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says steps have and are being taken to alleviate the problem.

“As those failed company policyholders, policyholders of those failed companies started looking through their agents for alternatives and then the alternative to get the policy at Citizens it overwhelmed Citizens’ computer system and that caused agents all over the metro area, in particular, to bring staff in before 8′clock in the morning and after 6 o’clock in the evening because of the greater ability to access the website at Citizens,” said Donelon.

Ross Fayard is a veteran insurance agent and owner of Amstate Insurance.

“There are great people over there, I just think their computer software cannot handle it and I’m telling you it spins, you get on Citizens to make a payment and it spins, it spins, it spins. And you get all the way through it and right before you hit buy, it kicks you out and you got to start all over again, so that’s one policy. You got 90,000 policies that need to be written,” said Fayard.

During an afternoon press conference in the Louisiana Insurance Department building, Donelon addressed the website issue.

“Temporarily, they have been able to add capacity to their existing system and create an “A” system and a “B” system and move some of the applications and some of the policyholders from some of the agents, the larger, with the larger books of business from the existing “A” platform to the “B” platform which had been isolated for use by staff to accommodate a greater number of applications being processed,” said Donelon.

Fayard says he and his staff are working long hours to try to get replacement coverage almost 2,000 of his customers.

“You can’t take a book for 14 years and tell me to move it in 30 days, it’s not happening. You know, 1,600 policies, I think if we maybe did 200 that’s a lot and it’s not that we don’t have markets, it’s because we can’t get on Citizens’ website,” Fayard said.

Agents who are getting new coverage through Citizens for those who have had their policies canceled are getting a little more time to do so.

“Fortuitously about two weeks ago Citizens extended their deadline for those policies, for those expiring policies from June 30th for Maison and Lighthouse and from July 15th for Southern Fidelity by 60 days to the end of August and the middle of September to give those policyholders who need coverage from Citizens, failing to get it in the private sector the ability to get a policy from Citizens retroactive,” said Donelon.

He spent the bulk of his afternoon press conference talking about insurance reform measures passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor John Bel Edwards.

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