La. Gov. Urges Insurer to Reverse Plan to Stop Renewing Commercial Policies

December 7, 2006

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco met with the state’s largest commercial insurer on Dec. 5, trying to convince executives to reverse an earlier decision to stop renewing policies in the New Orleans area next year.

St. Paul Travelers officials sat through hours of presentations from state officials who argued that southeast Louisiana’s infrastructure has been strengthened since Hurricane Katrina, with sturdier homes, expectations of improved levees and plans to preserve the coastline.

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said Travelers officials promised to relay highlights of the discussion to company chiefs at the company’s St. Paul, Minn., headquarters.

Travelers announced recently that it will stop renewing property business policies in March for an undisclosed number of small- and mid-sized businesses, mostly in New Orleans. The company writes about 14.9 percent of the state’s policies.

The company was the first insurer to announce that it will stop renewing commercial policies in Louisiana in the wake of Katrina, which destroyed tens of thousands of Gulf Coast homes, according to the state’s insurance department.

Travelers has no immediate plans to stop renewing other types of policies, including those for homeowners, a spokeswoman said.

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