State officials in Louisiana are calling on property owners to claim their assessment rebate charged on their insurance policies.
Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, all property policies were charged an assessment on behalf of Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (Citizens) to help pay for claims resulting from those storms.
At a joint press conference, Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon and Department of Revenue Deputy Assistant Secretary Gary Matherne said rebate claim forms could still be filed for assessments paid in 2008 through 2011.
“As of the end of last year, $260 million or 65 percent of those funds were not claimed,” Commissioner Donelon said.
Donelon noted that the allotted time to claim funds for 2006 and 2007 expired at the end of 2010 and 2011 respectively, and $143 million, or 54 percent of those funds went unclaimed. Donelon urged policyholders to check the declaration page of their property insurance policy to find the Citizens assessment amount they paid.
“Claiming your rebate for 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 is a simple process that can be done one of two ways,” Donelon said. “One option is to fill out a short rebate form for each year that you paid the Citizens assessment, which is form R-540INS. You can mail or fax it in, along with your insurance declaration page for that year, which shows the amount of your paid assessment.”
Forms for all four calendar years are located on the LDI and LDR Web sites.
Matherne said a second option available to property owners is to claim the rebate as a tax credit on your Louisiana Individual Income Tax Return, which is due each May. “Be sure not to claim your paid Citizens assessment rebate on both the rebate form and your tax return since this will delay your refund,” said Matherne.
Matherne added that property owners must not forget to include a copy of their insurance policy declaration page showing proof of the assessment amount when requesting the Citizens rebate using form R-540INS. He added that people should not claim the total insurance premium, only the Citizens assessment.
Matherne recommended that those who pay the Citizens assessment on more than one property send in a single rebate form for all properties each year rather than a separate rebate form for each property. An R-INS Supplement form should be used for more than one property. Otherwise, the second claim will automatically be delayed for review.
Donelon additionally pointed out that property owners may be eligible for residential property storm mitigation incentives, which include a state tax deduction and insurance premium discounts available to homeowners who strengthen their homes against storms and hurricanes.
“Property owners may be eligible for a state tax deduction for voluntarily retrofitting their home, and insurance premium discounts for voluntarily building or retrofitting their home to comply with the Louisiana State Uniform Construction Code, which will make their home more hurricane resistant,” Donelon said.
Improvements include but are not limited to such building applications as roof deck attachment, roof bracing, roof covering, roof-to-wall connections, secondary water barrier and opening protection.
Available Citizens Assessments Unclaimed as of Dec. 31, 2011
|Year||Assessment Amount Collected||Dollar Amount Claimed with LDR||Dollar Amount Left Unclaimed||Percent Dollar Amount Unclaimed|
Source: Louisiana Department of Insurance