September 24, 2009
of Insurance Jim Donelon reminds Louisianans of the continued importance
being properly prepared and insured as we
observe the 4th anniversary of Hurricane Rita. Rita made landfall
on September 24, 2005, near Johnson’s Bayou in Cameron Parish
as a Category 3 storm with winds of 115 miles per hour. Rita was
the second worst insured loss event in Louisiana history causing
over $2.6 billion in insured damage in our state.
“Hurricane season does not end until November 30 so we’re
not out of the woods yet,” Commissioner Donelon noted. “So
far, this Atlantic hurricane season has seen only six named storms.
However, 2005 is a prime example of the disastrous effects caused
by a late forming hurricane.” On October 24, one month after
Rita, Hurricane Wilma hit Florida with a devastating blow. Wilma
was the most intense hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic. “We
were blessed that the loss of life associated with Rita was not comparable
to the deaths caused by Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Audrey in
1957 that also hit Cameron Parish,” Donelon said.
Last September, two hurricanes
seriously impacted Louisiana. Gustav made landfall in Terrebonne
Parish near Cocodrie on September 1,
2006, as a Category 2 hurricane. Insured damages from Gustav currently
top $2.2 billion in Louisiana alone. Hurricane Ike made landfall
over Galveston, Texas on September 13, also as a Category 2 hurricane,
but the storm surge preceding Ike flooded coastal areas in south
central and southwestern Louisiana, hitting Cameron Parish hardest. “Properties
in many parishes suffered severe damage first from Gustav then from
Ike less than two weeks later,” Commissioner Donelon said.
In Louisiana, Ike’s total insured claims payments currently
top $475 million.
“Property owners need to make sure they have the right coverage
in the right amount before it’s too late,” said Donelon. “Flood
insurance is so important and relatively inexpensive. But don’t
wait until a storm is approaching to purchase flood insurance, as
it takes 30 days after purchase for a flood insurance policy to go
into effect. Also, most companies restrict the sale of insurance
once a hurricane or tropical storm enters the Gulf of Mexico,” Donelon