Blanco aims to send out insurance rate relief checks

October 9th, 2006

Reported by: The Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. Governor Kathleen Blanco today announced a plan to ease homeowners' post-hurricane insurance burden by sending them state checks next year with money raised by selling off what remains of the 1998 tobacco settlement. Blanco's plan would require approval from the Legislature, possibly in a special session later this year, plus statewide voter approval of a change to the state constitution. She says she aims to essentially refund the rate hikes -- between 10 percent and 15 percent -- that insurance companies imposed to offset storm-related losses sustained by the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, the quasi-state insurance firm for those who can't afford insurance elsewhere. Blanco says the state Department of Revenue would collect information on policyholders' rate increases from insurance companies, then send out checks sometime next year. According to the governor's plan, a homeowner who pays one-thousand dollars per year for property insurance would receive between 100 and 150 dollars from the state.