In the midst of a property coverage crisis, he has stated that he won’t be running again.
While Louisiana continues to scramble to keep on top of a property coverage crisis, Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon has announced that he does not intend to seek re-election to a fifth term in the fall.
This announcement is likely to generate greater interest in what will already be a heated race.
The unexpected announcement arrived in the midst of Donelon’s efforts to keep Louisiana out of a potential property insurance market collapse. Since the start of this decade when Hurricane Laura struck the state, the insurance commissioner has watched twelve insurers writing in Louisiana fail and over a dozen others step out of the state.
As a result, Louisiana has been left with thousands of policyholders with lost coverage and that had to turn to Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. – the state backed insurer of last resort – for coverage. That insurer is now covering more than three times the number of properties it was before Hurricane Laura.
The insurance commissioner has revived a plan he used after Hurricane Katrina to try to turn things around.
The plan involved offering state grants in order to provide an incentive to insurers to start writing in Louisiana again. Donelon was providing a public update about that plan and its progress when he revealed that he would not be seeking re-election in the fall and that he plans to retire.
During the announcement, Donelon explained that his age and the demands of keeping up the response to the state’s coverage crisis in anticipation of the upcoming session where the primary reasons he chose not to run for re-election after four terms.
Jim Donelon is 78 years old and currently holds the title of being the longest-serving insurance commissioner in Louisiana. He took his position from predecessors whose terms were wracked with scandal. Among them, three had been convicted and served time in federal prison.
“One thing that did play a factor is a state campaign takes a lot of time, and I haven’t had any time since late last year to put toward my re-election effort,” said Donelon during the press conference, explaining that he had held a fundraiser in Baton Rouge before the holiday season. “And since then, I haven’t been able to lift a finger toward my re-election campaign because of the time that this crisis has demanded of me and my staff.”