Jan 31, 2007
LA QUINTA, Calif. - Determined to bring affordable insurance home to Louisiana citizens, Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco today rolled out the state's welcome mat to highest levels of the insurance industry in the hopes of attracting more companies to write policies in the state. The Governor concluded her three-day insurance outreach mission in California by sharing Louisiana's story of reducing exposure to risk with members of the Property and Casualty Insurers of America (PSCI) Board of Governors.
"Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were only the first disasters to devastate our people; we must not allow insurance to become the second disaster," Governor Blanco told the board. "We have taken bold steps to right what was wrong in Louisiana, but the insurance industry must meet us halfway if our people are to realize the benefits of our work - lower insurance rates."
Joined by Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon, Gov. Blanco outlined the state's work to mitigate storm damage - from reforming levee boards to adopting statewide building codes. Such steps are considered vital to protecting lives and property, but the Governor added a more human element while making her case, telling the story of Iberia Parish resident Gloria Turner.
"Gloria Turner found herself with an insurance bill she simply could not afford," Gov. Blanco said. "Having paid off a home that survived many hurricanes and storms, she dropped the expensive insurance policy that doubled after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Just few a months after letting her policy lapse, a tornado blasted through her neighborhood, ripping the roof off her now uninsured home. When insurance rates rise to the level where protection is out of reach for our citizens, something has to be done."
PCI is composed of more than 1,000 member companies, writing more than $194 billion in annual premiums, representing 40.1 percent of the nation's property and casualty insurance market.
"I need a dirty dozen," Commissioner Donelon said to the group. "I need a dozen of you to come into Louisiana and write one percent of our homeowners and commercial property coverages, as 20 do already. That will allow us to depopulate the LA Citizens pool and provide competition-the best way to control prices for our consumers. We have a pent-up demand for your product that is vital for our recovery."
PCI board members thanked the Governor and Commissioner Donelon for their calm, reasonable appeal. Members said the steps Louisiana is taking add up to a positive story and urge them to continue telling it.
Gov. Blanco's address today comes after two days of meetings with international insurance risk modelers - AIR Worldwide and Risk Management Solutions, Inc. Over the past several months, Gov. Blanco and Commissioner Donelon have met with various sectors of the insurance industry in an effort to provide a comprehensive solution to the current crisis.
Governor Blanco shares Louisiana story with insurance industry; tells risk modelers of mitigation efforts in the hopes of reducing insurance rates >>
Governor Blanco wraps up meetings with insurance risk modelers; continues telling Louisiana's story to lower insurance rates >>