Jindal Takes Insurance Fight to Capital Hill

March 4, 2007
Reported by Rhonda Kitchens

"Our concern is with people unable to find insurance, paying too much for insurance," says Congressman Bobby Jindal, "they won't be able to rebuild their homes, reopen their businesses, expand right here in South Louisiana."

Prompting the Congressman to take his concerns to Capital Hill.

"Sharing with them the crisis we face here. Rates have gone up 50%, or more, in some cities, 12% across the state. The problem is many homeowners, small business owners, can't even find affordable policies."

Jindal proposed three bills he believes could solve the crisis.

Jindal says, "the first, we end the antitrust exemption the insurance industry has had for 50 years."

Basically, he says, putting insurance companies under the same regulations as other industries.

"We don't allow gasoline stations or stores to get together to raise prices after the storms. We don't let hardware stores raise the price of plywood after a storm. It doesn't make sense to let insurance companies get together to set prices, to leave a market place."

Jindal says the plan is receiving bipartisan support.

"We've got a second bill that says when you buy your flood insurance, give people the option of buying wind coverage as well. This does a couple of things. One, you don't have to argue with your adjuster about whether your damage was caused by wind or flood. Instead you get all of your coverage at one time. The other is nobody is forced to go to the Citizens plan as the only option. That was supposed to be a last resort option."

The third piece of legislation backed by Jindal, creates a federal reinsurance plan.

"So that if there is another large disaster like another Rita another Katrina, the federal government helps us rebuild."

Similar, Jindal says, to the program used in New York following 9-11.

"All we're saying is people who pay their premiums, who follow the rules, its only fair that when they actually have damage, that they have a catastrophe like Rita or Katrina, they get their dollars back to help them fix their homes, fix their businesses."