Louisiana Department of Insurance
MONTHLY REPORT
Volume 12, Issue 6
June 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 Legislative Recap

The 2012 Regular Legislative Session had its final adjournment earlier this month.  Lawmakers sorted through almost 2,000 bills this Session, which Governor Jindal has referred to as one of the most productive.  Others have called it one of the most challenging, as controversial bills dealing with education, retirement and the budget were debated. 

The following are some property and casualty legislation of interest including recommendations made by the Louisiana Property and Casualty Insurance Commission (LPCIC) and the Governor’s Task Force on DWI and Vehicular Homicide recommendations as supported by LPCIC.

SB 204 (ACT 632): Includes Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation among the entities exempt from furnishing bonds in judicial proceedings and suspends the 10 percent premium surcharge in 12 coastal parishes until August 15, 2015.

SB 208 (ACT 317): Adds a representative of the La. Surplus Lines Association and the Deputy Commissioner of Consumer Advocacy (Department of Insurance) to the membership of the LPCIC.

SB 306 (ACT 547): Addressed the computation of time for the 10 year cleansing period for DWI offenses.  The goal of the bill was to have probation and parole treated similarly.  This bill retains present law and adds that the 10 year period will not include the time in which the defendant is on parole.

SB 488 (ACT 470):  Clarifies that existing law requiring a 45-day “hard suspension” of a driver’s license applies to all second offense DWI’s.

SB 559 (ACT 368):  Requires proof of SR-22 financial responsibility and SR-26 notice of cancellation or termination to be submitted electronically to the Office of Motor Vehicles.

HB 595 (ACT 271): Provides for technical recodification of certain provisions of the La. Insurance Code.

HB 781 (ACT 592): Provides relative to the administration of multiple chemical tests for suspected drunken drivers and persons under arrest for offenses involving the operation of a vehicle while intoxicated.

HB 1053 (ACT 512):  Repeals the 2010 law prohibiting the impoundment of motor vehicles when the driver cannot produce proof of compulsory liability security.

HB 1130 (ACT 824): Provides for electronic display of proof of insurance by the driver of a vehicle.

National Safety Month
Beat the “Heat”: Fire Safety Tips

June has been designated National Safety Month by the National Safety Council (NSC), which urges organizations and communities to educate and influence behaviors around the leading causes of preventable injuries and deaths.  According to the NSC, the rate of unintentional injuries and deaths in the United States remains at unacceptable levels. In 2010, the number of unintentional deaths reached an estimated 126,100, compared with an estimate of 122,700 in the previous year. The cost of unintentional injuries to Americans and their employers exceeds $730 billion nationally, or $6,200 per household, and causes great suffering for individuals and their families.
Summer is officially here… a time to fire up the barbeque pit, light up the tikki torches on the patio for family get-togethers and set off holiday fireworks if allowed.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reports that in 2010, there were 1,331,500 fires which resulted in 3,120 civilian deaths and over $9.5 million in losses.
Here are some fire safety tips to keep summer activities fun and safe:

Clothes dryers:

  • Control lint buildup on the lint filter, the back of the machine and in the venting system.
  • Replace plastic or vinyl vent hoses with a rigid or flexible metal venting system.
  • Dry only items that are approved and safe to be put in a dryer (not foam-backed rugs or athletic shoes).

BBQ grills:

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills must only be used outdoors. If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces such as tents, they pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to toxic gases and potential asphyxiation.
  • Position the grill well away from siding, deck railing, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic.
  • Keep children and pets from the grill area: declare a three-foot "safe zone" around the grill.
  • Put out several long-handled grilling tools to give the chef plenty of clearance from heat and flames when cooking.
  • Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below the grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.

Extinguishing campfires:

  • Allow the wood to burn completely to ash, if possible.
  • Pour lots of water on the fire; drown all embers, not just the red ones.
  • Pour until hissing sound stops.
  • Stir the campfire ashes and embers with a shovel.
  • Scrape the sticks and logs to remove any embers.
  • Stir and make sure everything is wet and they are cold to the touch.
  • If you do not have water, use dirt. Mix enough dirt or sand with the embers. Continue adding and stirring until all material is cool. REMEMBER: do NOT bury the fire as the fire will continue to smolder and could catch roots on fire that will eventually get to the surface and start a wildfire.

Summer is one of the most enjoyable times of the year.  Family vacations and outdoor activities often make lasting memories. The Louisiana Property and Casualty Insurance Commission wishes each of you a happy 4th of July and a safe summer!!

Never Leave Children Unattended in Cars:
Look Before You Lock

With temperatures reaching the upper 90’s, there’s no denying that summertime in Louisiana is in full swing.  Summer heat can almost feel unbearable at times, especially to young children, whose bodies can heat up five times faster than the average adult’s body.  Because of their sensitivity to heat, a child can die from a heat stroke even on a mild 72-degree day.

Each year, 38 children across the United States die from heat exposure leading to hyperthermia.  In 2011, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) investigated cases involving six children who were affected by heat exposure which resulted in three deaths and three children with serious or permanent injuries including permanent brain damage, blindness, kidney failure and second degree burns.

DCFS warns that children should never be left unattended in a vehicle, even for a short time.  There are too many potential delays, distractions and other factors that can have grave consequences. 

Leaving a child unattended in a car is not only dangerous, it is also illegal in Louisiana, punishable by a fine of up to $500 or imprisonment of up to six months, or both for a first offense. For subsequent offenses, the fine ranges between $1,000 and $5,000 with jail time of not less than one year or more than two years, or both.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration encourages parents to “look before you lock” and offers the following safety tips:

  • Teach children not to play in, on or around vehicles.
  • Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even with the window slightly open or with the engine running and the air conditioner on.
  • Always lock an unattended vehicle's doors and trunk - especially at home. Keep keys and remote entry devices out of children's reach. If a child is missing, check the vehicle first, including the trunk.
  • Check to ensure all children leave the vehicle when you reach your destination. Don't overlook sleeping infants.
  • If you are bringing your child to school or daycare when it is not part of your normal routine, have your spouse or someone else call you to make sure everything went according to plan.
  • Ask your childcare provider to call you if your child does not show up for childcare.
  • Do things to remind yourself that a child is in the vehicle, such as:
    • Writing yourself a note and putting the note where you will see it when you leave the vehicle;
    • Placing your purse, briefcase or something else you need in the back seat so that you will have to check the back seat when you leave the vehicle; or
    • Keeping an object in the car seat, such as a stuffed toy. When the child is buckled in, place the object where the driver will notice it when he or she is leaving the vehicle.
  • If a child is in distress due to heat, get them out as quickly as possible. Warning signs may include: red, hot, and moist or dry skin, no sweating, a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse, nausea or acting strangely. Cool the child rapidly. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

Save the Date: Filing and Compliance Seminar

Don’t forget to register for the 9th Annual Louisiana Filing and Compliance seminar, held in conjunction with the Louisiana Insurer’s Conference.  The seminar will be held August 1st – 3rd at the Astor-Crowne Plaza in New Orleans and will include a welcome by Commissioner Jim Donelon, keynote speaker Senator Eric LaFleur,  legislative highlights and breakout sessions.

The conference will also feature a variety of hot topic discussions, including federal issues, PPACA, fraud issues, producer and adjuster issues, tax filing issues, and non-producer and company requirements.  Registration and conference information is available on the Louisiana Department of Insurance web site: www.ldi.la.gov .