Insurers in Louisiana Agree to Extend Hurricane Lawsuit Deadline

August 14, 2006

Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon says nearly all of Louisiana’s homeowners insurance companies, including State Farm and Allstate, have complied with his order to extend the prescriptive period for policyholders to file a lawsuit as result of a hurricane-related insurance claim.

Among the state’s largest homeowners insurers agreeing to an extension of the prescriptive period are: State Farm: 31.9 percent of the Louisiana homeowners market; Allstate: 20.2 percent; Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation: 7.6 percent; Louisiana Farm Bureau Group: 6.9 percent; Zurich Group, which includes Farmers Insurance Exchange and Foremost: 4.1 percent; Liberty Mutual Group: 3.6 percent; St. Paul Travelers Group: 3.2 percent; USAA Group: 3.1 percent; ANPAC: 2.0 percent; Allmerica Group, which includes Hanover and Massachusetts Bay: 1.9 percent; AIG Group: 1.6 percent; Metropolitan Group: 1.5 percent; Allianz Group, which includes Firemans Fund: 1.4 percent; Chubb: 1.2 percent; Unitrin Group: 0.9 percent; Hartford Group: 0.9 percent; Horace Mann: 0.9 percent; Safeco: 0.6 percent; Assurant Solutions Group, which includes American Bankers of Florida and Voyager: 0.5 percent; National Security Group: 0.3 percent and Homesite Group: 0.2 percent.

Insurers had until close of business Aug. 11 to meet the deadline imposed by Commissioner Donelon to file a stipulation with the Department of Insurance agreeing to extend the lawsuit period.

“Given the unprecedented number of insurance claims filed following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, one year has not been enough time for many policyholders and insurance companies to work out a final settlement,” said Donelon.

The year-anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is August 29 and Hurricane Rita is September 24.

Commissioner Donelon urges policyholders with an outstanding hurricane claim to check the Department’s Web site for a complete list of homeowners insurers agreeing to extend the prescriptive deadline.

The time period for extensions varies by company. Most insurers have agreed to the extra year. Some will extend the prescriptive period to two years but are reserving the limited right to give the Department 30 or 60-days written notice to rescind the stipulation, but only if a court determines that Act 802 of the 2006 Regular Session is unconstitutional.

Commissioner Donelon notes that until there is a final court decision, all hurricane claimants whose companies have filed a stipulation are now fully protected because of his directive.

Source: Louisiana Department of Insurance

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