BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – Gov. John Bel Edwards is calling lawmakers back to the Capitol next week in hopes a special session will resolve the looming problem of insurance companies leaving the state and those staying to keep people out of their homes praise. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is asking for $45 million for a stimulus fund that he says will help attract more businesses, boost competition and in turn lower prices.
“I know a lot of people get outdone with the insurance commissioner and I’m a little bit myself to put us in this shape,” said Senator Bodi White (R).
“I think a lot of us think this is a band-aid approach. We have several things that need to happen. But I think in a way he made the case that we need to act fast,” added Rep. Rick Edmonds (R).
The problem some in the Capitol have with the idea of spending $45 million is one, it’s a lot of money. And secondly, if lawmakers can’t agree on how the funds should be divided, there is no alternative plan.
“For a conservative lawmaker, that’s a hard pill. What do we do if this Legislature decides not to fund or use that $45 million, and I’m going to be part of that appropriation process… or… I mean, what’s the plan?” asked Sen. White.
Regardless of who believes what about how we’re moving forward, almost everyone agrees that something needs to happen fast.
“I had discussions with people from the Houma, Thibodeaux area last week and some of them had doubled or tripled their premiums and they only saw a few months before they couldn’t afford to keep paying,” Rep said , explained Edmonds.
Local realtor Pat Wattam says she can remember when Louisiana was going through a similar problem and took a similar approach in 2005 with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
“We’ve done this before… And look where we are now. The biggest problem we face as real estate agents is losing the roof replacement that many insurance companies give you. But now they’re going to make it where the roofs have to be either 5 years old or 10 years old, if you have a 20-year-old roof they’re going to write it off and you might not get anything for your roof,” Wattam said.
She went on to say that until something can be worked out, her best advice is to look into insurance.
“Don’t just go with the person who insures your car if it’s your first home. It’s good to ask your friends who they use. You want a reliable company. Because all those companies that bought in before brought in the cheap insurance rates, who’s paying for those policies now? The insurance companies that stayed, plus us the taxpayers,” Wattam added.
Things will start Monday noon and last no more than seven days.
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