Insurance companies providing coverage in Louisiana should be allowed to adjust their “named storm” deductibles on homeowner policies depending on properties’ distance from the Gulf of Mexico, according to a bill sent to Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Louisiana is the only state that requires insurers to set a statewide deductible, meaning properties hundreds of miles inland must have the same deductibles as those along the Gulf, where catastrophic damage from hurricanes is more likely.
The bill by Sen. Don Cravins Jr., D-Opelousas, would allow variable “named storm” deductibles — those triggered when damage to a property is caused by a named tropical storm or hurricane.
Under the bill, the Department of Insurance would create a map of Louisiana with zones outlining which areas could have named storm deductibles at which level. Insurers would then be able to set different deductibles on properties in different zones.
The bill also would put a 4 percent cap on named storm deductibles, meaning some homeowners with Allstate Insurance Co. would see a reduction in their deductible. Allstate recently raised deductibles to 5 percent on homeowners with policies three years old or less.
The House voted 76-20 to send the measure to Jindal. Opposition came almost entirely from south Louisiana lawmakers, who have argued that existing law should be maintained because it treats all homeowners equally, regardless of geography.
Cravins had a similar bill last year that passed both legislative chambers, but a panel of House and Senate members could not agree on a compromise version.
On the Net:
Senate Bill 160 can be found at legis.state.la.us/