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Insurers paid $9.8B to Louisiana victims of Hurricane Ida with $3.3B still to be paid

Vehicles are diverted around utility poles damaged by the effects of Hurricane Ida, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, in New Orleans. New Orleans is without power which may last for several weeks. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) Eric Gay/AP

Insurers paid $9.8B to Louisiana victims of Hurricane Ida with $3.3B still to be paid

Victor Skinner | The Center Square contributor

August 03, 09:30 AM August 03, 09:31 AM

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(The Center Square) — Insurers paid $9.8 billion to Louisiana victims of Hurricane Ida in the last 10 months, representing roughly 65% of the 460,709 claims filed through June 30, according to data released by the Louisiana Department of Insurance this week.

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon on Monday released details of the most recent data call on insurance companies related to Hurricane Ida, which affected 25 parishes when it made landfall as a Category 4 storm on August 29, 2021.

In total, 299,440 of the 460,709 claims filed have been closed with payment through the end of June. The claims closed with payment represent about 65% of all claims, for a total of $9.8 billion paid out, while insurers have reserved to pay an additional $3.3 billion.

Donelson reminded Louisianans on Monday it’s not too late to report previously unknown damage or to file additional claims to cover inflation related to repairs.

“If inflation or the discovery of previously unknown damage caused the cost of your repair to increase since you received the initial payment from your insurance company, you have the right to file a supplemental claim,” Donelon said. “I encourage any policyholder having problems getting their insurer to pay a claim to call us at 800-259-5300 and file a complaint.”

The data shows payouts for residential property topped the list with $6.2 billion paid through June 30, with about another $700,000 reserved. A total of 88% of the 359,548 residential property claims have been closed — 226,470 with payment and 90,039 without.

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Of the 52,093 personal auto claims filed, 44,994 or 86% were closed with payment, compared to 6,291 closed without payment. Insurers have paid $338 million for losses, with another $35 million reserved, to settle 98% of auto claims, according to the data.

Meanwhile only about 45% of the 29,876 commercial property claims have been closed with payment, while another 26% were closed without payment. Insurers have paid $2.6 billion in commercial property claims, with another $2 billion reserved.

Other claims payouts through June 30 include $23 million in private flood claims, $12 million in commercial auto claims, $277 million in business interruption claims, and $249 million paid for all other lines of business, the insurance department reports.

Jefferson Parish produced the most claims with 105,135, with 65% closed with payments totaling $1.9 billion, not including another $500 million in payments reserved. Orleans Parish followed with 78,115 claims, 57% of which were closed with payments totaling nearly $1.3 billion. Another $500 million in payments are reserved there, as well.

Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes were the only other two areas to top $1 billion in payments made, with $1.052 billion in Lafourche and $1.5 billion in Terrebonne. Another $350 million in reserved payments are pending in Terrebonne Parish and about $250 million in Lafourche Parish.

Data from previous calls on Hurricanes Delta, Zeta and Laura show Ida’s destruction has been the most expensive, though none of the data includes claims and payments through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Through September 30, 2021, Laura resulted in more than $9 billion in payments and reserves on reported claims, while that total for Zeta was $629 million, and $875 million for Delta.

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More data from Hurricane Ida is expected after the final deadline for submission on Oct. 7.

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