Louisiana Department of Insurance
MONTHLY REPORT
Volume 12, Issue 4
April 2012


Members

Commissioner Jim Donelon
Theodore "Ted" Haik, Jr., Chair
Jeff Albright, Vice Chair

Raymond J. Aleman, Sr.
Lee Ann Alexander
Paul Buffone
Sheriff Greg Champagne
Representative Greg Cromer

Manuel DePascual
Nick Gautreaux
Michael Guy
Lance "Wes" Hataway
LTC John A. LeBlanc
Senator Eric LaFleur
Ann Metrailer
Robert Moorman
Senator Dan "Blade" Morrish
Chris Roy, Jr.
Stephen Schrempp
Representative Kirk Talbot
Earl Taylor
Rina Thomas


Staff


Terrell B. Moss, Director

David Evans,
Supervisor/Research Analyst

Katie Walsh, Administrative Assist./Research Analyst

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2012 Regular Session: Property and Casualty Legislation

The 2012 Regular Legislative Session convened on March 12, with a final adjournment scheduled no later than June 4. Over 1900 bills have been filed for consideration this year, however, only a few have reached the final stages of passage. Trending topics in legislation this Session include budget, education and retirement for state employees. 

Below are several property and casualty bills of interest that have been filed:

HB 154: Provides relative to policy refunds- Allows an insurer to credit a refund of $25 or less to other policies the insured has with the same or an affiliated insurer

HB 443: Prohibits penalties against the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation in class action lawsuits

HB 585/ SB 559: Requires proof of motor vehicle financial responsibility and notice of cancellation or termination to be submitted electronically

SB 485: Provides relative to certain offenses committed while intoxicated- Expands the elements of vehicular homicide and third degree feticide to include the presence of any controlled dangerous substance in the driver’s blood, unless medically ordered or prescribed for that driver

SB 486: Provides relative to reinstatement of driving privileges under certain circumstances for persons convicted of certain offenses involving operating a vehicle while intoxicated- Provides the conditions for a restricted hardship license for certain DWI offenders who are enrolled in a drug division probation program.

SELA DWI Task Force Meeting

The guest speaker at last month’s Southeast Louisiana DWI Task Force (SELA) meeting was Mr. Ed O’Brien, Deputy Commissioner of the Office of Property and Casualty, LA Department of Insurance, who discussed insurance rates in the state of Louisiana and the impact that DWI’s can have on those rates.

Mr. O’Brien reported that even a first offense conviction of DWI could increase premiums 70–100 percent upon policy renewal, and upwards of 150-175 percent if the conviction is in conjunction with an at fault loss. For young drivers, the cost of a DWI increases greatly- one could easily pay $4,000- $5,000 for a six month policy after a DWI.

Deputy Commissioner O’Brien praised the members of SELA and law enforcement officers, acknowledging that although auto insurance rates in Louisiana are some of the highest in the country, without DWI and traffic enforcement, the rates would be significantly higher than they are now.

The SELA DWI Task Force meets monthly and continues to discuss alcohol and DWI related issues in order to generate ideas and legislative changes that could be made to effectively eliminate or reduce impaired driving. 

Traffic Safety Summit Held to Help Louisiana Reach Destination Zero Deaths

Destination Zero Deaths is an ongoing campaign launched by The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), in partnership with the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission (LHSC) and Louisiana State Police (LSP).  According to DOTD, the campaign is an interactive component of Louisiana’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan, which takes a multi-discipline, multi-agency approach to promote driver safety and move Louisiana toward zero deaths on the state’s roadways.

Earlier this month a Traffic Safety Summit was held in Baton Rouge. The two-day conference brought together distinguished speakers who discussed various traffic safety topics, and ultimately how to effectively bring the Louisiana Strategic Highway Safety Plan to the local level. Some of the many topics of discussion included occupant protection, alcohol impaired driving, distracted driving, railroad safety and Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS).

Louisiana, on a state level, is being recognized for the strides being taken to improve highway safety, including improvements in crash data collection, a significant percent reduction in traffic fatalities and enforcement by police officers. However, while groups like the “Who Dat Coalition” in the New Orleans area and the “Acadiana Traffic Safety Coalition” in the Lafayette area have been established to bring education and enforcement to a local regional level, the majority of the state does not have such programs in place. These coalitions implement regional safety plans which also include activities, PSA’s and community outreach and education.

Hopefully education, enforcement and traffic safety will continue to improve in Louisiana through continued efforts of the Destination Zero Deaths and other highway safety campaigns and one day LA will actually reach their destination of “zero deaths”.

Many Pet Owners “Fetch” Pet Insurance

Many people love their “fur babies” almost as much as they love their real babies.  Often times, a family pet is considered to be an actual member of the family. But what happens when Duke swallows a tennis ball instead of fetching it?  The outcome could be an expensive emergency surgery, costing “mom and dad” several thousand dollars out of pocket. On average, pet owners spend about $650 a year on regular check-ups and surgeries. Pets can be costly, but we love them… oh, the things we do for our “kids.”

Over the past few years, pet insurance providers have grown immensely and researchers believe that the popularity of pet coverage will continue to grow. In 2009, revenue from all pet insurance plans totaled $303 million- and is expected to grow to $735 million by 2014.

The majority of providers offer different levels of coverage, ranging from basic coverage to more comprehensive coverage. A basic policy may cost around $15 a month, and would protect pets from accident and illness. More comprehensive coverage can be purchased to add more benefits and even wellness coverage.  These more comprehensive policies can run about $75 monthly. Most policies will reimburse 80- 90 percent of a claim.

Due to the growing popularity of pet insurance, plenty of information is available online. Contacting your insurance agent is also a good resource to learn more about this line of insurance.