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Three years after Hurricane Katrina, the aftermath of the storm is still affecting life in Louisiana, especially when it comes to homeowners insurance.
This month, the Louisiana Senate voted to allow the continued offering of millions of dollars to private insurance companies that agree to write homeowners insurance policies for those who own vulnerable coastal real estate. The source of the money? Taxpayer dollars.
The bill was originally introduced by Senator Don Cravins, Jr., giving the state the ability to extend last year’s $100 million Louisiana Incentive Program for a third round. In the first two rounds, private insurance companies accepted about $40 million and in return, took over homeowners policies originally written by the state-backed insurance company, Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. If the program is not extended, remaining money would revert to the state.
Senator Cravins, chair of the Insurance Comitee, said that he expected more companies would apply for the incentive program grants after this year’s hurricane season ends.
In addition to approving the extension of the incentive program, the Louisiana Senate also approved Senator Troy Herbert’s (D-Jeanerette) amendment to take any money remaining in the incentive fund after round three, and give it directly to homeowners to off-set their insurance costs. This amendment is identical to a separate bill (Senate Bill 44) by Cravins that was already approved.
According to Senator Cravins, there is now way to predict how much money each homeowner might receive, because it depends how much is left in the fund after round three grants are distributed. Cravin’s bill, with the Hebert amendment (Senate Bill 588), passed unanimously, and will now move to the state’s House of Representatives.