Insurance incentive fund bill advances during special session
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A bill that would put millions of dollars into an incentive fund for insurance companies advanced during the second day of a special session in Louisiana.
The House Appropriations Committee spent hours on Tuesday, Jan. 31, listening to different takes on what to do with the $45 million being asked for by Louisiana’s Department of Insurance. Republican Louisiana State Representative Tanner Magee, of Terrebonne Parish, said he has concerns about whether the money would bring insurance companies that will actually pay out claims.
“The point of the insurance is that in the event that something happens, they’re protected. That’s why we mandate pretty much across the board insurance,” Rep. Magee said.
Part of the proposal would require companies that look to do business in Louisiana to be a-rated. Many lawmakers said the requirement should have been in place when a similar program was created after Hurricane Katrina.
While speaking before the committee, Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon was asked why he did not ask for the money during the 2022 Louisiana Regular Session.
“We went to Senate Finance the night before sign and die and Sen. White added it to the agenda for us to share the information with them. But he had made it clear throughout the entire process that he was not supportive of funding the program last year,” Donelon said.
Prior to the House Appropriations Committee meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 31, there was no alternative plan if no agreement was made on the money. However, some lawmakers suggested the money would be better off placed in Louisiana’s Fortified Roof Program instead of the incentive fund.
“Frankly, the fortified housing seems like something we should be looking into more because if you do the fortified roof and other things to your property, insurances are giving discounts to property owners,” added Rep. Aimee Freeman, of New Orleans, who also sits on the House Appropriations Committee.
Ultimately, an amendment was proposed to set a deadline at the end of 2023 for the money to be used or it would be put into the Fortified Roof Program.
The incentive bill along with Republican Representative John Stefanski’s bill to vet companies looking to do business made it out of committee. Now, the full House of Representatives will have a chance to ask questions before voting on both bills and the proposed amendment.
Lawmakers will be back on Wednesday, Feb. 1, at 10 a.m. to pick up where they left off.
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