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 probably in the biggest turmoil I’ve ever seen in the 30 years I’ve been in business,” Page said. “But we still have to try to find a carrier ready to write. And at the moment, the market is very dark.
He said nearly all insurance companies had stopped writing policies for homeowners in Bayou communities, and that was causing chaos.
“They don’t know what to do,” he said. “They are running into a loss of coverage problem. They are 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 don’t know of any others that are faltering or on the verge of insolvency. I think that’s it for the foreseeable future,” Donelon said.
A spokesperson for the Donelon offices said there were approximately 84,000 policyholders without coverage in the state. And it’s probably not anymore now that Weston Insurance is gone.
According to the Office of the State Insurance Commissioner:
- Gulfstream Property and Casualty Insurance Company left in July 2021. Centauri Insurance took over 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 total of 54,000 policies, all of which were underwritten by an insurer called SafePoint.
- Lighthouse filed for bankruptcy in April 2022. “We were unable to find an insurer to underwrite Lighthouse’s 30,000 policies due to a tightening reinsurance market,” the office spokesperson said. by Donelon.
- Maison left in June 2022 and the office was unable to find an insurer to underwrite Maison’s 12,000 policies due to the tightening reinsurance market.
- Southern Fidelity went bankrupt in July 2022, with 42,000 policies uninsured due to the market.
Lighthouse, Maison and Southern Fidelity together had approximately 84,000 policies that were not directly placed with any other insurer.
Regarding Weston Insurance, the spokesperson said it was too early to confirm the number of uninsured policies. But should be available in the next few days.
“People still have tarps on their roofs, we have over 10,000 people living in motorhomes,” said Terrebonne Parish Council member Jessica Domangue. “They don’t want to leave. I do not 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 for ways to invest federal and state money to make bayou communities more resilient, while those in need of cover hang on.
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