HOUMA, La. (WVUE) – Smaller insurance agencies, like Page Insurance in Houma, La., are busier than ever.
Owner John Page said his office has written $61 million in claims since Hurricane Ida. He said the insurance crisis is unprecedented.
“The market is very much in probably the biggest turmoil I’ve ever experienced in the 30 years I’ve been in business,” said Page. “But we still have to try to find a carrier willing to write. And as of right now, the market is very bleak.”
He said almost all insurance carriers have stopped writing policies for homeowners in the Bayou communities. And it’s causing chaos.
“They don’t know what to do,” he said. “They’re running into an issue of losing coverage. They’re trying to rebuild their homes.”
Weston Insurance is the latest to drop out of Louisiana.
In June, State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon told FOX 8 that the dust was settling.
“I do not know of any others that are teetering, or on the brink of insolvency. I think this is it for the foreseeable future,” said Donelon.
A spokesperson from Donelon’s offices said there are about 84,000 policyholders without coverage in the state. And it’s likely more now that Weston Insurance left.
According to the office of the state insurance commissioner:
– Gulfstream Property and Casualty Insurance Company left in July 2021. Centauri Insurance took on the 9,000 Louisiana policies left uninsured by Gulfstream.
– State National Fire Insurance Company and Access Home Insurance Company both left in November 2021. Americas Insurance Company left in January 2022. These three companies had a combined 54,000 policies, all of which were taken on by an insurer called SafePoint.
– Lighthouse went under in April 2022. “We were unable to find an insurer to take on the 30,000 policies from Lighthouse due to a hardening reinsurance market,” said the spokesperson for Donelon’s office.
– Maison left in June 2022, and the office was unable to find an insurer to take on the 12,000 policies from Maison due to the hardening reinsurance market.
– Southern Fidelity went under in July 2022, with 42,000 policies left uninsured due to the market.
Lighthouse, Maison and Southern Fidelity together had about 84,000 policies that were not directly placed with another insurer.
When it comes to Weston Insurance, the spokesperson said it is too soon to confirm the number of policies uninsured. But should become available in the coming days.
“People still have tarps on their roofs, we have over 10,000 individuals living in campers,” said Terrebonne Parish council member Jessica Domangue. “They don’t want to leave. I don’t want to leave. We want to stay here this is our home.”
Domangue said the insurance crisis is causing a lot of fear and anxiety among residents. In the meantime, she said the council is looking at ways to invest federal and state money to make the bayou communities more resilient, while those in need of coverage hang on .
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