New Louisiana bill helps coastal parish Citizens insurance customers

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Latest state insurance news provides a bit of relief to these policyholders.

Residents along the coast of Louisiana who have policies with Citizens insurance – the insurer operated by the state – can now expect a 10 percent reduction on their premiums over the next three years due to recent legislation that has been sent to Governor Bobby Jindal by the state lawmakers.

Only hours before the annual session ended on Monday, Senate Bill 204 was passed by the Legislature.

It is hoped that Senator Dan Morrish (R-Jennings)’s bill will help to take a bit of the edge off the recent increases to rates that were approved recently by the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

Citizens insurance has the legal right to charge rates that are up to 10 percent higher than those that are charged by private insurers in the same region. SB 204, however, would wave this requirement in the parishes of: Vermilion, St. Mary, Iberia, Cameron, Orleans, Calcasieu, Jefferson, St. Tammany, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, Lafourche, and Terrebonne. The waiver is expected to remain active until August 15, 2015.

The legislation for the waived amount was tacked on to a bill that was put forward by Morrish that would provide Citizens with an exemption from having to post a bond within court case proceedings which involved the insurer. This waiver was created following significant increases to rates seen by residents along the coastal parishes that were impacted by wind and hail.

The board at Citizens insurance had given its approval for an overall increase to its rates at an average of approximately 10.5 percent earlier this year. However, its customers who exclusively held wind policies were to be slammed with an average hike of 58 percent. Some of the residents along the coast of the state were faced with increases ranging from 110 percent to 200 percent or even higher.

Rep. Sam Jones (D-Franklin) had proposed an amendment to the original bill by Morrish, which would have stated that any increase to the Citizens insurance rates that were 15 percent or higher when compared to the year before would have to be phased in gradually so that they would never be any greater than 10 percent in any given year. However, that was rejected in favor of the 10 percent charge waiver.


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