Governor John Bel Edwards has called a special meeting to address the property insurance crisis

On Sunday, Governor John Bel Edwards called a special meeting of the Legislature to discuss Louisiana’s property insurance crisis.

The event is scheduled to start from January 30th until February 5th.

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon told the legislative committee on Friday that the special session is important because eight insurance companies have gone bankrupt, and others have gone out of business. foundation, when the state experienced devastating hurricanes in 2020 and 2021.

Donelon wants the Legislature to put at least $45 million into a new fund aimed at attracting insurance companies to the state, with enough time to recover. their insurance in advance of hurricane season, which begins June 1.

Edwards agreed with the House and Senate.

“Although Commissioner Donelon says we need to do this now, this is only the first step in solving Louisiana’s insurance issues after the 2020 hurricane season. and 2021, a disaster aggravated by storms and wildfires in other states in 2022,” said the governor. in a statement accompanying the call.

Senate President Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, and House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales, said they support the move.

“Commissioner Donelon said that time is very important for the Legislature’s funding of the stimulus program and therefore it is necessary to go to a special meeting,” Cortez said. in a statement too.

“While we understand that the problem cannot be completely solved we know the urgency,” he added.

Schexnayder declined to go along with a special session and asked how much more would be available instead of waiting until the start of the 2023 regular season, which begins on April 10.

However, Schexnayder and others say there is no doubt the state is facing a major property insurance problem.

“While a special session to fund the Louisiana Incentive Fund will not solve the issue of the availability and affordability of property insurance for our citizens, it is a short-term aid that can be the first step in a long term. solution,” Schexnayder said.

“The council will continue to work to improve this situation, so that our businesses and property owners do not end up in this continuous cycle,” said the Mr. Governor.

Donelon, who could not be reached for comment on Sunday, called for a special meeting for weeks.

At the end of last year, Edward and the leaders of the Legislature stated their opinion that the matter can wait until the regular session.

What has changed, they said, is to attract insurance companies to re-enter the market in Louisiana, the companies need time to go through the difficult process of reinsuring themselves.

Doing that, officials say, means traveling to London, Zurich and other distant cities.

Having the incentive fund in place will provide the incentive to do that, officials said.

Donelon made his request on Friday before the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, including a question-and-answer session held for more than two hours.

He said the Legislature’s immediate action would also cut the list of Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state’s insurance company of last resort.

Its list has swelled to about 125,000 policyholders — about double what was expected — as homeowners struggle to stay out of business.

Under the plan, insurance companies must put up $1 for every dollar of state aid, and stay in business for five years or return the money to the state.

State leaders are hoping to limit the extra session to seven days or less.

It is scheduled to run from noon on January 30th to 6pm on February 5th.

Edwards has limited the agenda to one topic.

It costs taxpayers about $60,000 in one day.

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