Filing an insurance claim in the wake of Hurricane Ida or Tropical Storm Nicholas will not increase your premium or cause you to lose coverage, Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said Thursday. .
“You cannot be abandoned, or increase your premium, or increase your deductible, or any of your coverages affected because of filing a claim for a force majeure event,” such as a hurricane or tropical storm, said Donelon.
“Don’t be intimidated. Don’t hesitate to file for fear of being canceled or seeing your premiums increase,” the state’s leading insurance regulator added at a virtual town hall hosted by The Times-Picayune | The Lawyer Thursday.
This does not mean that the premiums will not increase. Donelon said rates rise even in years without a major hurricane, and next year he expects premiums to rise by about 5-6%. But this increase is not based on the fact that an insured files a claim.
Donelon reiterated Thursday that insurance companies in Louisiana must cover temporary living expenses for residents who fled the southeastern corner of the state before Hurricane Ida, whether or not a mandatory evacuation was issued. However, the state’s largest home insurer, State Farm, continues to refuse.
Donelon said “at this point, [the ball] is in State Farm court, ”and said his office was awaiting a response from the company on their non-compliance. If they continue to disregard his order, Donelon said he could either suspend State Farm’s license or fine them, which the company would likely challenge in court.
Many Louisiana residents recovering from recent storms learn that their insurance policies include what’s called a “named storm” deductible, which typically requires policyholders to pay between 2% and 5% of the value of their property. property before coverage applies.
Donelon urged the public to file a claim with his insurance company even if their damages are below this deductible. That’s because the deductible applies for the entire hurricane season, which lasts until the end of November. If another storm causes additional damage, you could most likely exceed this deductible and get coverage.
A reader said she submitted a claim to her insurance company after Hurricane Ida, but still had no response. Donelon said he “expected them to be in touch now.”
He said anyone facing issues with their insurance companies should call the Department of Insurance at 800-259-5300 or file a complaint at www.ldi.la.gov.
Call volume after Hurricane Ida is “far higher” than the insurance department experienced last year after Hurricane Laura, Donelon said, adding that damage from the recent storm could rival with those observed after Hurricane Katrina.
Are you having problems with your insurance company as a result of Hurricane Ida and Tropical Storm Nicholas? Send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org and a reporter can contact you.