Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon, Senate Insurance Committee Chair Kirk Talbot and House Insurance Committee Chair Mike Huval revealed their joint Catastrophe Reform Package for the 2022 Legislative Session during a news conference at the Louisiana Department of Insurance.
“I want policyholders across the state to know we have heard their concerns and we are taking action to deal with them,” Donelon said. “Our Catastrophe Reform Package addresses ongoing issues from the last few hurricanes while establishing forward-looking protections that will help policyholders in the future.”
The package includes six bills designed to strengthen protections for policyholders in the aftermath of hurricanes and other disasters.
“We’re hoping to clear up some of the confusion for constituents who are frustrated with the claims process,” Talbot said. “Our goal is to give policyholders peace of mind and a better understanding of their policy protections.”
The LDI encourages Louisianans who support the Catastrophe Reform Package to contact their state senator and state representative to show their support. Louisiana residents can visit www.legis.la.gov and click the “Who Are My Legislators” link on the left sidebar to quickly find names and contact information for their elected officials.
“I always urge residents to prepare before hurricane season gets here, and I am proud to introduce the Fortify Homes Program that encourages policyholders to increase their home’s resiliency at very little cost,” Huval said. “At the same time, we are going to make sure insurers are adequately communicating with policyholders during the claims process.”
The Catastrophe Reform Package includes the following legislation:
HB 612 by Rep. Huval – Louisiana Fortify Homes Program
- Creates the “Louisiana Fortify Homes Program” within the LDI to provide grants for homeowners to retrofit their roofs to meet the “FORTIFIED Roof” standard
- Commissioner of Insurance would issue rules for eligibility requirements and provide program administration
SB 198 by Sen. Talbot – Three-Adjuster Rule
- After a third adjuster is assigned to a policyholder’s claim following a catastrophe, the insurer must provide:
- A summary report of the claim disposition up to that point including information such as the undisputed amount to be covered and a list of issues that remain in dispute
- A new primary contact that is directly employed by the insurer who will remain on the case until the claim is closed, as well as two methods of contacting them
SB 134 by Sen. Talbot – Additional Living Expenses
- Clarifies that prohibited use coverage shall be triggered when a civil authority issues either a formal evacuation order or other public safety announcement that the area should be evacuated as a result of a covered peril
SB 264 by Sen. Joseph Bouie – Minimum Capital and Surplus Requirements
- Raises the minimum capital and surplus requirements for existing property and casualty insurance companies operating in Louisiana from the current $3 million dollars to $5 million by 2026 and $10 million by 2031
- After September 1, 2022, requires new insurers to meet the $10 million threshold upon application for a Certificate of Authority
HB 280 by Rep. Huval and Sen. Talbot – Catastrophe Response Plan Improvements
- Requires the written catastrophe response plans created by Louisiana insurers to include certain minimum requirements, including emergency contact information for essential personnel and procedures to address the processing of claims, maintaining communication with policyholders, and more
SB 162 by Sen. Talbot – Policyholder Non-Renewal Protections
- When the governor declares a state of emergency for a named storm or windstorm, the insurer cannot cancel or nonrenew an insurance policy providing coverage for property located in this state, subject to the declaration of the state of emergency, and the property was damaged as a result of the named storm or hurricane until 90 days after the property has been repaired