of Insurance Jim Donelon Announces Auto Theft & Fraud
Awareness Radio Campaign and Tax Saving Opportunities
Released: March 19, 2009
At a press conference in Baton Rouge today, Commissioner of Insurance
Jim Donelon unveiled four radio spots aimed at making the public
more aware of insurance fraud and vehicle theft, and offered tips
on how to stop these costly crimes. Commissioner Donelon says the
ads, sponsored by the Louisiana Automobile Theft and Insurance Fraud
Prevention Authority (LATIFPA) within the Department of Insurance,
will run statewide starting today.
One ad, simply titled Insurance Fraud, reminds listeners that
fraud affects everyone. Fraudulent insurance claims cost
insurers $80 billion
annually, accounting for 10 percent of the property and casualty
insurance industry’s losses, which are passed on to consumers
through higher premiums. “The average U.S. household pays about
$1,000 a year in additional premiums to cover insurance fraud,” Donelon
says. He adds that insurance fraud is the second costliest white-collar
crime in America after tax evasion. To help reduce insurance fraud,
listeners are urged to report suspected fraud to the Department of
Another ad, titled This is the Sound, uses sound effects to illustrate
a narrative of someone stealing an unlocked sports car. This
spot, aimed at teenage drivers, issues the reminder that
only takes a few seconds so when leaving your car, remember to
close your windows, take your keys, lock your doors and activate
The final two spots, titled Car Theft: Port of New Orleans and
Car Theft: Port of Baton Rouge, bring to light the problem
of chop shops
shipping stolen vehicle parts overseas. Commissioner Donelon
says vehicle theft is the number one property crime in America
if it were a legal business, it would rank in the Fortune 500.
These ads also remind listeners that information about vehicle
insurance fraud should be reported to the Department of Insurance.
Created by the Louisiana Legislature in 2004, LATIFPA is a
public agency whose purpose is to combat motor vehicle theft,
fraud by theft and other criminal acts. LATIFPA is governed
by an 11-member Board of Directors representing the Department
and related governmental entities.
Commissioner Donelon also took the opportunity to discuss
three tax saving options for property owners this tax season:
Louisiana Citizens Assessment Tax Credit
Property owners are once again this year entitled to a state tax rebate whether they owe taxes or not, if they were charged the
Louisiana Citizens Property InsuranceCorporation assessment on their 2008 policy. Almost $21 million, or 1/3 of the money available,
went unclaimed in 2007. Consumers are eligible to recoup the amount of their paid assessment for 2007 and 2008 by accessing the
proper forms on the Department of Insurance Web site: www.ldi.state.la.us, by clicking on the Louisiana Citizens Insurance Tax Credit link.
Seven Percent State Tax Credit on Primary Residence Insurance Premiums for 2008
A measure passed during the 2007 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature creates a refundable credit against individual
income tax for seven percent of the premiums paid by individuals on their primary residence on homeowners,
condo owners or tenant homeowners insurance. Any Citizens assessment must be subtracted from the total premium paid
before the seven percent credit rate.
Federal Hurricane Tax Deduction
Public Law (PL) 110-343 (a federal law) contains a much-needed tax-relief package for hurricane victims, allowing them to claim their
hurricane damages on their taxes for 2008. This will compensate for the additional expense many incurred due to named storm deductibles
homeowners faced with damages from Hurricanes Gustav and Ike last September.
This tax relief package allows taxpayers to claim damage that exceeds $100 on their federal taxes for 2008. Previously, hurricane casualty
losses were limited to 10% of adjusted gross income. Now, qualifying disaster losses are not subject to that limit.
Consumers can refer to IRS Pub 547 for tax year 2008 to get the details on the Federal Hurricane Tax Deduction: