Insurance Commissioner Tim Temple Addresses Parish Business Leaders

We need additional insurance companies willing to write policies in Louisiana to see lower rates. That was the message from Tim Temple, Louisiana’s new Commissioner of Insurance who was the keynote speaker at the Plaquemines Association of Business and Industry’s (PABI) annual installation of officers held last week at English Turn Golf Club.

Temple was elected in the fall of 2023 when his only opponent dropped out of the race. With 12 insurance carriers becoming insolvent and 24 leaving the state, policy rates have soared for all types of coverage. “They just said we give up… we don’t want to be here. We compete for insurance carriers to come here. They don’t have to do business in the state of Louisiana. We have to attract markets to come in and write,” Temple said.

He added that while a couple of years without hurricanes would help, the bigger issue are things we can control such as the regulatory environment. “Louisiana is the toughest place in America for insurance companies to do business. We have a very rigid and sometimes adversarial department of insurance,” he said. “They do it in the guise of we’re here to protect the consumer. But if you protect the consumer from an industry, you eventually run off, what have you really accomplished.”

“When they (insurance companies) are comparing all the common factors and they look at Texas and Mississippi and Alabama and Florida and they come to us, we want to make sure they say OK, department of insurance we can get along with y’all. The Department of Insurance is helpful, Department of Insurance wants you there. You are going to see a sea of change in the Department of Insurance. We want insurance companies here doing business,” he added.

In addition to improving regulations, Temple cited the litigious nature in Louisiana as contributing to out-of-control rates. Temple said he would be working with Governor Jeff Landry and the newly elected legislature on legislation aimed at legal reform. Temple said the normal process of compensating policyholders for legitimate claims should proceed with lawsuits being a last resort if something goes awry instead of lawsuits happening prior to the claims process taking place.

Temple also cited the need for minimizing the physical risks of damage by encouraging and promoting the building of more secure homes. He vowed to work on better building codes as has been done in other states. Temple touted the benefits of the fortified room program which often offers homeowners premium relief for putting in place a stronger roof and said he would advocate for the legislature to provide a state tax credit or reduction of $5000 for homeowners who choose to pay for a new fortified roof.

Temple vowed to take every avenue possible to achieve a better insurance climate in the state. “We cannot afford to not get insurance reform done. It impacts every individual, every family and every business. It also impacts every municipality and state government,” he said. “Just hoping hurricanes are not going to come and that will somehow make the market better is not planned. It’s proven it won’t.”

He concluded by saying he would be working with all stakeholders on solutions to bring insurance companies back to Louisiana to begin writing coverage, so consumers again have a choice.

In addition to Temple’s address, attendees also heard from outgoing 2023 Chairman Mike Roy on PABI’s accomplishments over the past year and from Reid McLellan, the 2024 incoming chair of the business organization.

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