BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon, Senate Insurance Committee Chairman Kirk Talbot, and House Insurance Committee Chairman Mike Huval announced their Catastrophe Reform Package of legislation for the 2022 Legislative Session. 

The Catastrophe Reform Package includes six bills that are supposed to benefit homeowners from major storms, like Hurricane Ida.

The six bills outlined:

SB 134 – Additional Living Expenses

This bill clarifies that prohibited use coverage shall be triggered when a civil authority issues either a formal evacuation order or another public safety announcement that the area should be evacuated as a result of a covered peril.

SB 264 – Minimum Capital and Surplus Requirements

This bill has several topics including requirements and changes of budget for the state.

Increases the minimum capital and surplus requirements for all insures licensed to write the “fire and allied lines” or “homeowners insurance” lines of business. Under the current law, the minimum capital and surplus requirement are $3,000,000. Insurers licensed if met all the requirements, it will be increased by December 31st, 2026 to $5,000,000. In the following years, by 2031 it will be increased to $10,000,000.

SB 198 – Three-Adjuster Rule

After a third adjuster is assigned during a catastrophe, the insurer must have a summary report of the claim disposition up to that point including information such as the undisputed amount to be covered and a list of issues that remain in dispute.

SB 162 – Policyholder Non-Renewal Protections

When the governor declares a state of emergency for a named storm or windstorm, the insurer cannot cancel or non-renew an insurance policy providing coverage for property located in this state, subject to the declaration of the state of emergency, and the property was damaged as a result of the named storm or hurricane until 90 days after the property has been repaired.

Requires insurers to send at least a 90 day written notice to cancel or non-renew.

HB 612 – Louisiana Fortify Homes Program

Creates the “Louisiana Fortify Homes Program” within the Louisiana Department of Insurance. The program would create an incentive for Louisiana homeowners to retrofit their roofs to meet the institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) “FORTIFIED Roof” Standard. The “La. Fortify Homes Fund” would be held in the state treasury as a dedicated fund.

HB 280 – Catastrophe Requirements Improvements

Requires the written catastrophe response plans created by Louisiana insurers to include the following requirements. The bills require a list of contacts that need to be provided to insures that the information presented is up to date. The data is also necessary for adjusting claims, processing claims, and maintaining communication with policyholders.

However, not everyone is happy with this new program. Real Reform Louisiana, a lobbying group, that has fought the insurance industry says the package doesn’t hold insurance companies accountable.

“Some of the bills proposed would be positive changes for storm victims, but none of them will do enough to give policyholders a fighting chance when their insurance company tries to cheat them,” said Executive Director Eric Holl.

Lawmakers will vote on the bills when the legislative session starts on March 15th, 2022.