Jim Brown’s Weekly Column: How bad can Louisiana’s Insurance Climate Get?

August 23nd, 2013
New York, New York


In the movie Guys and Dolls, gambler Nathan Detroit (played by Frank Sinatra) says: “How can it get any worse. What more can you do to me?” That’s what thousands of Louisiana property owners are saying about the state’s insurance climate for insuring their homes and businesses. The cost of property insurance is skyrocketing and rates have become unaffordable. And if a property owner is able to scrape up the spiraling yearly premiums, their claims are often not being paid. People are moving out of Louisiana and fewer potential home and business owners are moving in. Outrageous insurance costs are one of the major reasons that growth is at a standstill.

I wrote about how projections of increasing premiums could, in some parts of the state, exceed 1000% in this column last week. The national flood insurance program was re-authorized last year by congress and was given the authority to reduce subsidies to coastal states like Louisiana. Apparently, coastal state members of congress failed to read the legislation, voted for it, and are now hollering for delays.

But that’s just one part of the problem. Louisiana has the dubious distinction, year after year, of having the highest property insurance rates in the country. Homeowners in the state pay an average of more than $1600.00 to insure a home, with much steeper rates throughout south Louisiana. And the bugaboo that has caused so much damage to the state’s insurance climate is Citizens Property Insurance Company. A Baton Rouge Business Report front-page headline called Citizens the “worst financial disaster in the last 100 years.” Louisiana State Treasurer John Kennedy has echoed that view repeatedly and has called on the legislature to abolish it.

The contrarian view was recently offered by Insurance Department officials who, in a letter to the legislature, called the company “a model on the national stage.” And they are right if you are searching for an example of dysfunction and incompetence. Respected columnist James Gill, who has written for the state’s largest two newspapers, concluded, “the entire citizens insurance set up is straight out of Alice in Wonderland,” and warned property owners to “brace ourselves for disaster.” Gill also pointed out that Citizens will pay out well over $100 million for delays in paying claims, and concluded that the Citizens board “seems determined to make plaintiff lawyers as rich as possible.” Understandably, the Insurance Department did not share Gill’s opinion with Louisiana lawmakers. Continue Reading…….

10 thoughts on “Jim Brown’s Weekly Column: How bad can Louisiana’s Insurance Climate Get?”

  1. Hello pot, meet kettle. It is the worst sort of joke/hypocrisy that Jim Brown feels righteous enough to comment on the sad state of insurance in Louisiana. The same Jim Brown who first permitted homeowners insurers (led by State Farm) to implement the “Hurricane Deductible.” Of course, once permitted to greatly decrease coverage in the event of a hurricane, the insurers went even further (without any resistance from the LDI), and converted it into a “Named Storm Deductible.” Now, coverage is also severely limited for tropical storms.

    Implementation of these “Named Storm Deductibles” is one of the worst scams in the history of insurance, and Jim Brown permitted them! So many people felt the pain last year from Hurricane Isaac when they realized they had no coverage for mild to moderate storm damage (aside from flood damage). It will happen again and again. Thanks Jim . . . you went to prison for the wrong thing.

    1. your own self-rightousness blinds you from the facts. i am no particular fan of mr. brown but the facts are that he was the victim of an overzealous prosecution and his conviction for lying to an fbi agent was overturned after he had served his time and that, in my opinion, was an injustice.

      so tell us in your own biased opinion, what legitimate crimes should mr. brown have been indicted, prosecuted and sent to prison for ?

      you should seriously consider changing your user name to sanctimonious puppet.

      1. You bet your ass I’m self-righteous when it comes to the issue of “named storm deductibles.” I have the documents, and believe me, I know way more about this than your sorry ass. He was indicted, prosecuted and sent to prison for a crime not nearly as bad as the one he perpetrated when he collaborated with State Farm to let the insurers rip off his own constituents. Stick to bashing Whitmer, something you have a clue about. Because clearly, you have no clue when it comes to this issue.

        1. And yes, I did that on purpose because you know damn well who I am, and I know damn well who you are.

  2. Isaac homeowner’s insurance claims are subject to a 2 year prescriptive period. I like Jim, but he needs to take a gander at the Louisiana Insurance Code, particularly La.R.S. 22:868 which was revised post-Katrina to make almost all types of first party insurance claims, including homeowner’s insurance claims, subject to a 2 year prescriptive period.

  3. Jim Brown is a self-righteous ass with a short memory. He should crawl back to the whole from whence he came.

  4. Wait a cotton-pickin-minute. We STILL have the highest property insurance rates??? That is impossible. Mike Foster and that nice Juneau gentleman from LABI told us specifically that our rates were so high only because greedy trial lawyers were abusing our strict liability laws and that their badly needed tort reform measures that Foster signed into law were going to fix that. You’re telling me that those two nice men were full of shit? Say it ain’t so!!!!

    1. Precisely so, Dingle. I was around the legislature when that bullshit was going down. That , and summary judgment as a circumvention of trial on the merits.

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