Lawmakers in Los Angeles are among thousands to lose insurance coverage

Crews who are part of the federal Blue Roof program install a tarp on a roof damaged by Hurricane Ida in New Orleans, Louisiana.(Source: WVUE)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – Some Louisiana lawmakers are among the thousands of people who have lost their property insurance even as we move deeper into hurricane season.

Congressman Kyle Green is a Democrat representing part of Jefferson Parish.

“Personally, I’m going to be one of those people where the insurance company, my homeowner’s insurance company, basically went under and we’re now, now in receivership,” Green said.

Like many homeowners, he is forced to look elsewhere for coverage.

“So I got a notice in the mail saying you can either go to LA Citizens, which it should be, their premiums are higher because it’s legal, or you can go to another, I guess more small insurance company I don’t know how whether that company is reputable or not, so it makes you worry in what appears to be a very active hurricane season,” Green said.

Sen. Kirk Talbot, a Republican representing Jefferson Parish, also lost his coverage.

“My insurance company dropped me and I was picked up by another,” Talbot said.

Thirty thousand policyholders will have their policies canceled on June 22 and another on June 30, according to the Louisiana Department of Insurance.

“Insurance companies have taken a really bad hit, we’ve had five companies that have already gone into receivership, which means they’ve failed. We had 10 companies pull out,” says Talbot.

Veteran insurance agents like Ross Fayard are crying out for help for their clients. He says his agency has 798 clients losing coverage this month.

“This needs to be fixed and the only one who can fix it is Jim Donnellon, he needs to fix it or he needs to resign,” Fayard said. “I’m not mad at Mr. Donnellon, because I wouldn’t want his position on anything in the world right now, but come on, man, let’s fix this.”

FOX 8 requested interviews with Commissioner Donnellon on Tuesday and Wednesday, but his spokesperson said a news conference will be held Thursday in Baton Rouge.

Talbot was asked if Donelon could ease some of the pain policyholders are feeling. He said Donnellon can’t wave a magic wand and force insurers to stay in Louisiana.

“No, and what the insurance commissioner did, and it’s a good thing after Katrina, he created a climate here that attracted a lot of homeowner’s insurance companies. That’s one of the reasons we have the companies we have.”

Green said, “I think the insurance commissioner has the tools that have already been given to him by the legislature to hold insurance companies accountable. I think now we’re asking him to use those tools.

During the regular legislative session, which ended June 6, lawmakers passed some insurance reform measures. Talbot helped with that.

“We’ve passed bills that insurance companies are going to have to simplify the process of when you have a claim, when you have a claim, how you get paid, you know, we’ve done a lot of things like that. We have increased the penalties on insurance companies for doing what they are supposed to do. Which I’m proud of,” Talbot said.

But apparently he and some other lawmakers wanted to do more.

“Overall, you know, I don’t think we’ve done enough from my perspective to make sure consumers are protected,” Green said.

Talbot believes the state-run insurer of last resort could pick up those who lose their coverage with private insurers.

“The good news is that Citizens is in great shape. We had about 180,000 policies at Citizens after Katrina, now we’re down to about 35,000, so we have room to take on more. Citizens is in excellent financial condition. LIGA, the Louisiana Insurance Guaranty Association, they’re in great shape, so it’s going to be a tough couple of years,” Talbot said.

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