A Louisiana bill that would overhaul the state’s FAIR and Coastal plans passed both the Senate and House and is headed to Gov. Mike Foster’s desk for his signature.
House Bill 1788, which creates the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation to operate and manage the FAIR and Coastal plans, is among crucial reform efforts to rejuvenate the state’s insurance market, according to the National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII). Properties in high-risk areas that cannot obtain insurance in the standard market are placed in the FAIR and Coastal plans.
“Louisiana insurance companies have been assessed more than $100 million during the last three years to cover the losses of the FAIR and Coastal Plans,” said NAII Counsel Greg LaCost. “These assessments, combined with no procedure to recoup these payments, drive companies out of Louisiana’s insurance market. Since FAIR and Coastal Plan assessments are based on their percentage of market share, there is an enormous incentive for insurers to leave the state and a strong disincentive for those remaining to write new policies.”
HB 1788 is supported by the NAII and the Coalition to Insure Louisiana to revamp the state-run programs for homeowners unable to find coverage in the private market. The bill, based on a Florida program, would change how the programs are financed—holding down costs for private insurance companies that are required to support the state-run programs through fees assessed by the state. Currently, if a catastrophe such as a hurricane or other severe weather storm touches down in Louisiana, insurers not only would be responsible for their own customers’ claims, but they would also have to help fund the Coastal and FAIR claims.
The plan may permit corporate tax-free build-up of catastrophe loss reserves. It also allows bond financing to spread catastrophe losses over time and reduce assessments and spread the FAIR and Coastal Plans catastrophe losses over all property insurance policyholders.
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