BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – After a disaster, Louisianans are running into problems with their insurance companies sending dozens of adjusters to their case — leading to major delays in support. Some legislation is looking to tackle that problem despite insurance companies raising objections.
SB13 by Sen. Joseph Bouie looks to limit the number of adjusters who can be put on one insurance claim. This comes after many policyholders after Hurricane Laura and Ida have said that they’ve been met with dozens of adjusters.
An adjuster assesses the damage to someone’s home and helps determine how much the insurance company will pay out. After the last three hurricanes in the state, people have reported having as many as 22 adjusters placed on their case.
“This results in long delays of claims which wear down folks. I think it leads to a lot of folks giving up on their claim and giving up on their home and some folks leaving the state,” said Eric Holl, executive director of Real Reform Louisiana.
Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon has testified in the past that hiring enough adjusters after a disaster is a challenge. There are thousands brought in from out of state. Some are quickly given licenses which has led to accusations they are not qualified.
Sen. Bouie’s bill mirrors other bills moving through the body right now. It caps the number of adjusters at three. Sen. Kirk Talbot also has a bill making a requirement after three adjusters in six months to create a report, which has passed out of the Senate.
“The insurance industry recognizes there has been a problem, but it isn’t always a problem. And this is a way to sort of, you know, cut off your nose to spite your face,” said Lee Ann Alexander with the American Property Casualty Insurance Association.
The companies that testified could not give a definitive number of adjusters needed. They also pointed out the broad definition of an adjuster which could lead to the three-person limit being reached before a policyholder gets the proper meetings and assessments they need. The senator said he is not dead set on three adjusters – but feels something has to be done. He plans to meet with insurance companies to learn more about what kind of cap could be made. The senators on the committee said they have been flooded with emails and calls about this very issue.
“If we do nothing, I think we will expose our citizens to the kinds of pain and suffering they have now,” Sen. Bouie said.
He voluntarily deferred his bill to work out the language around the definition of adjuster and also to see if there’s some flexibility with that three adjuster limit. He plans to bring it back later in the session.