As state lawmakers ponder special insurance incentive fund this week, the Legislative Auditor shares a snapshot of the state’s insurance environment so members can make an informed decision. Kevin Gallagher reports…:
Cut 1 (32) “…I’m Kevin Gallagher.”
Broussard Police Department is investigating a nutty case of missing squirrel monkeys, Whitney Thomas Reports.
Cut 2 (34) “…I’m Whitney Thomas.”
It’s day two of the special session and lawmakers will begin debate on a bill to fund an incentive program to help with the state’s lack of property insurance options.
Cut 3 (31) “…I’m Brooke Thorington.”
As state lawmakers proceed with a special session aimed at easing the property insurance crisis in Louisiana, the Legislative Auditor releases a report full of data on the state’s insurance picture and on how the Insure Louisiana Incentive Program worked when it was done before. Ed Seyler is an economist with the Legislative Auditor’s office. He says a big number of insurers have left the state; forcing people to the state-run insurance company of last resort, Louisiana Citizens…:
Cut 4 (12) “…of this year.”
Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is asking lawmakers to approve a $45-million incentive fund to attract new companies to come here and help de-populate Citizens book of business. Seyler says the same thing was done in 2007, after Katrina & Rita swelled Louisiana Citizens ranks, but it only brought 5 companies to the state. Still, he says, they achieved measurable success…:
Cut 5 (13) “…of their targets.”
Seyler says the report is to help lawmakers with the decision they must make during this 5-day special session. He says it also notes there are other steps that could also help alleviate property insurance costs by up to 57-percent, such as…:
Cut 6 (07) “…70-percent or more.”
He says lawmakers could give Citizens a pool of cash to help them with purchasing re-insurance, which could also lower premiums. 20 insurers have left Louisiana since hurricanes in 2020 and ’21; growing Citizens’ book of business by about 100-thousand policies.
Broussard Police Department responded to the report of a burglary at Zoosiana. The zoo owner noticed about 12 squirrel monkeys were taken from their habitat on Sunday around midnight. Police Chief Vance Oliver says they have an idea of how the burglary happened.
Cut 7 (09) “..from that location.”
Oliver says all safety measures have been taken to secure the Zoo and other animals.
Cut 8 (10) “…a second attempt.”
All other animals at the zoo have been accounted for and there are no public safety concerts at this time. The investigation into the incident is still ongoing, however, Oliver is asking for the public’s help.
Cut 9 (11) “…fisheries as well.”
Lawmakers will begin debate on a program to incentivize more insurance companies to cover properties in Louisiana after several have either left or gone insolvent. Houma Representative Jerome Zeringue who authored the legislation says he and others have concerns about the program and its…
Cut 10 (08) “…intended goal.”
Zeringue acknowledges that the program is not a long-term solution and at best it’s a stop-gap measure. He says they want to improve upon a similar incentive program that was used after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
When they return for the regular session in April, he says they’ll work to provide more cost-effective opportunities for insurers but in the meantime, time is of the essence.
Cut 11 (10) “…and do this.”
The Houma Republican says there is a safeguard in place for the $ 45 million allocated for the program.
Cut 12 (05) “…general fund.”
Zeringue says they want to help as many homeowners as possible to find cost-affordable coverage and avoid the expensive premiums required by Citizens the state insurer of last resort. Doing so he says benefits others who have to remain Citizens by reducing overall costs.
House Bill 1 is one of two being debated in the special session.
The National Weather Service has placed most all of northern Louisiana under a flood watch for now through Thursday. NWS Shreveport meteorologist Jason Hansford says the region got a thorough soaking Sunday, but more showers and thunderstorms are in the forecast…:
Cut 13 (12) “….of the day Thursday.”
The flood watch covers Union, Caddo, Bossier, Webster, Claiborne, Lincoln, Desoto, Red River, Bienville, Jackson, Ouachita, Sabine, Natchitoches, Winn, Grant LaSalle, and Caldwell parishes. Hansford says the increased rain – possibly another 2-to-3 inches of it – could bring flash floods and potential temporary highway closures in lower-lying areas…:
Cut 14 (13) “…area waterways.”
In addition to all the rain, temperatures across Northern Louisiana are expected to drop to around or even below freezing; bringing the concern for possible winter precipitation. Hansford says he doesn’t think freezing rain, sleet, or snow will present a problem in the Bayou State, but…:
Cut 15 (10) “…go from there.”
He says to stay near sources of weather information for further updates, watches, or warnings.
Cut 16 (09) “…down too”
Cut 17 (19) “…come back stronger”
Cut 18 (25) “…right now”
Cut 19 (18) “..for sure”
Cut 20 (12) “…get people on base”