NEW ORLEANS — From policies to premiums, a lot of folks in Louisiana have had a rough time recently, trying to protect their homes. Concerned and quite frankly fed up, Louisiana homeowners showed up to the University of New Orleans Wednesday evening for answers about insurance.
“We’re in pretty much crisis,” Rep. Royce Duplessis said.
State lawmakers like Duplessis and insurance commissioner Jim Donelon hosted a town for homeowners faced with canceled policies and high premiums.
“People need to understand if they’re paying insurance companies, why can’t insurance companies deliver,” Duplessis said.
Donelon says seven failed companies have left Louisiana homeowners scrambling. Other companies have stopped writing policies in certain areas. Recent Hurricanes, especially Delta, Laura, and Ida, are big reasons why.
“The failure of the seven companies that have gone down resulted in 144,000 policy holders being left without coverage by their insurer,” Donelon said.
“We were not warned, not one bit, of this. So, we’re very frustrated,” New Orleans East resident E. Brandon said.
Brandon had a policy with her insurer for about five years until she got a letter in June saying it was cancelled.
“I paid three out of four payments and I had one payment left to go when all of this happened,” Brandon said.
Now she’s with Louisiana Citizens, set up by the state as a last resort. It’s more expensive for Brandon, adding to the frustration.
“I would say it’s about a thousand dollars more,” Brandon said.
Having to pay for a new policy, she’s also wondering if she’ll get a refund from her old policy, which is being handled through the state.
“The answer is, absolutely yes,” Donelon said.
Donelon said refunds from all failed companies are currently being processed. It just takes time. A big question of the night was what it’ll take for prices to come down. Donelon said that’ll take two things.
“Number one is building higher and building stronger,” Donelon said. “The other is competition.”
A new law went into effect Monday requiring insurance companies to have a $10 million surplus by 2031. Incentive programs are also being set up to attract more companies to the state. Paying for those programs is still being worked out.