Insurance commissioner reveals Hurricane Ida on track to be “costliest storm” in state history

Initial insurance provider reports to be made available later in the year

Insurance commissioner reveals Hurricane Ida on track to be “costliest storm” in state history

Catastrophe & Flood

By Lyle Adriano

Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon revealed in a recent interview that Hurricane Ida could quite possibly be the state’s most expensive hurricane on record, in terms of insured damage.

In an interview with radio stations WWNO/WRKF, Donelon gave startling insured damage figures for the hurricane event that hit the state in late August.

“The projections are that there will be between $20 and $40 billion paid by insurers for wind losses as a result of Hurricane Ida,” the insurance commissioner said.

Notably, Donelon’s estimates do not include claims paid by FEMA’s NFIP, nor does it account for economic damages – which means the total damage could be even higher.

“If it goes over $23 billion, it’ll be the costliest hurricane in the state’s history, and the likelihood is that will happen based on the expert analysis of the damage,” he mentioned.

The commissioner noted that the initial insurance provider payout reports for Hurricane Ida damages will not be available until the end of 2021, but some data on previous storms have been released.

“A final data report is due (this week) on 2020 hurricane losses from Laura, Delta and Zeta,” Donelon noted, “which resulted in more than $10 billion being paid, $8.6 (billion) for Laura in the Lake Charles area.”

Donelon commented that while Laura was the second-largest loss event in Louisiana’s history, he has no doubt that Ida will exceed its damage scale.

Just this week, the Emergency Rule 47 invoked by Donelon expired. Originally invoked on August 26 in anticipation of Ida, the emergency edict put a moratorium on the cancelation and non-renewal of insurance policies in Louisiana. It had been extended once, but Donelon chose to let the moratorium expire after an insurer informed him that it was leaving the Louisiana marketplace.

Last week, the Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI) rolled out a new mediation program that will facilitate disputes for Hurricane Ida-related personal lines residential insurance claims of up to $50,000.


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