Through the end of 2020 property/casualty insurers paid out or reserved $7.7 billion On claims of all types resulting from Hurricanes Laura, Delta and Zeta in Louisiana, the state insurance department reported.
The Louisiana Department of Insurance said policyholders had filed 290,847 claims of all types from the three storms as of Dec. 31. Of those, 161,704 claims, or 56%, have been closed with collective payments reaching $5 billion.
The information was generated from a data call to all authorized property/casualty insurers in the state, including surplus lines insurers, to submit claims data on Hurricanes Laura, Delta and Zeta. The figures include claims from personal and commercial insurance.
They do not include claims or payments from the National Flood Insurance Program. However, FEMA in mid-January reported that the NFIP had paid out more than $110 million in flood claims to 3,249 Louisiana policyholders for damage resulting from Delta and Laura alone.
Policyholders have filed 169,891 claims from Hurricane Laura, which struck Southwest Louisiana on Aug. 27, 2020, as a Category 4 storm. Calcasieu, Rapides, Beauregard, Ouachita and Vernon parishes had the most claims from the storm.
As of Dec. 31, 2020, insurers had closed 77% of the claims from Hurricane Laura, 59% of which were closed with payment. Total paid losses, plus reserves, on reported claims from all surveyed lines of insurance for Hurricane Laura at the end of 2020 came to $6.6 billion, representing the overwhelming majority of damage in Louisiana from the record 2020 hurricane season.
Hurricane Delta, a Category 2 storm that made landfall in Southwest Louisiana on Oct. 9, 2020, had generated 71,945 policyholder claims by the end of the year. Policyholders in Calcasieu, Lafayette, Acadia, East Baton Rouge and St. Landry parishes have filed the most Delta claims.
At the end of 2020, insurers had closed 82% of all Delta claims, and 53% of those claims were closed with payment. Insurers had paid or reserved $556 million to cover losses from reported claims from all surveyed lines of insurance for Hurricane Delta by the year’s end.
Hurricane Zeta made landfall in Terrebonne Parish on Oct. 28, 2020, as a Category 2 storm. Policyholders filed 49,011 Zeta-related claims through the end of last year. Most of the claims came from Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard, St. Tammany and Lafourche parishes.
Insurers closed 79% of reported Zeta claims and 46% of those claims were closed with payment. Total paid losses, plus reserves, on reported claims from all surveyed lines of insurance totaled $499 million for Hurricane Zeta at the end of 2020.
The LDI will continue to collect data from property/casualty insurers to monitor the claims process. The final deadline for 2020 hurricane data is Oct. 8, 2021.
Policyholders can file supplemental claims if they incur additional expenses in repairing their properties or if they discover previously unknown storm damage, LDI said.
The LDI reported that nearly 80% of the 873 complaints it has received related to the 2020 hurricane season concern homeowners insurance.
As of Jan. 11, 2021, policyholders had filed 691 homeowners insurance complaints about claims from Laura, Delta and Zeta. The LDI investigated and closed 597 of the complaints by that date.
The department also received complaints about various types of residential, auto and commercial property insurance, as well as complaints about insurance adjusters and agents, but the majority of complaints have been related to homeowners insurance. The most common grievance was claim delay.
Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon has urged any policyholder in a dispute with their insurance company to call the department.
Interested parties can visit www.ldi.la.gov/complaintdata to see complaints sorted by company name, premium written and the complaint index, which measures complaints for a company relative to the amount of premium written.
Gov. John Bel Edwards has requested $3 billion in federal block grant aid for hurricane recovery, saying insurance dollars and other available assistance are insufficient for rebuilding needs.
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