Special session begins in effort to ease the mass exodus of insurance companies from the state

Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 7:16 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - State lawmakers are back at the capitol to deal with the issue that’s costing many lots of money.

There’s only one thing on the agenda at the special session and that’s dealing with the state’s homeowners insurance crisis. The session started at noon Monday, with the one bill being assigned to the appropriations committee to take up on Tuesday.

Lawmakers will have 7 days to come up with a plan on how to divvy up $45 million in state money. According to insurance commissioner Jim Donolen, that should be enough money to entice some companies to do business here in Louisiana.

Though some lawmakers are optimistic Donolen’s plan could help resolve some of the insurance woes, there is uncertainty that it would benefit all policy holders.

Now, homeowners are hoping it’ll stop the mass exodus of insurance companies from the state.

Many homeowners in Louisiana know all too well how frustrating it is dealing with insurance after a hurricane.

“Nobody should ever have to go through this again,” Lake Charles resident Martha Smith said.

Smith told 7News she had to sue her insurance company after Hurricane Laura. The company ended up going bankrupt a few months later. Now two years later, she said she still owes contractors money.

“I think if people pay their premiums every month in case of a disaster then their needs should be met,” Smith said.

It’s issues like insurance companies leaving policy holders in a bind that brought on this special legislative session.

“To be honest with you,” Smith said. “I think they need to take some money and help get people in their homes.”

Like Smith, others are questioning if the $45 million up for discussion this week would benefit homeowners in the current plan laid out by the insurance commissioner.

“This is not even a Band-Aid. This is less than a Band-Aid,” Andreanecia Morris said.

Andreanecia Morris is the president of HousingLOUISIANA, an organization that works to fight housing insecurity across the state.

“This isn’t sustainable,” Morris said. “The people of Louisiana can’t afford this. We can’t. And our leaders have to step in and ensure that we can keep our citizens housed and we can keep them safe and again there are short term and long term solutions that will make that possible and none of it includes giving millions of dollars to insurance companies.”