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NAMIC: Louisiana Legislature Winds Up 2008 Session After Adopting 'Named Storm’ Deductible Proposal – a ‘Win-Win’ for Insurance Consumers, Companies

INDIANAPOLIS (June 24, 2008) – The Louisiana Legislature has adjourned after passing several proposals affecting the property/casualty insurance industry, according to the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies. Last night’s adjournment followed a weekend of frenzied activity for lawmakers.

On Sunday, the Legislature sent Gov. Bobby Jindal SB 160, a bill to modernize the insurance marketplace by allowing companies to implement 'named storm’ deductibles that vary by geographic territory. The bill limits the amount of the increase in a total deductible to not more than 4 percent of the value of the property being insured.

“This legislation is a victory for insurance consumers and carriers, alike,” said Liz Reynolds, NAMIC Southeast state affairs manager. “It brings Louisiana in line with every other state by providing flexibility for insurers and, as a result, expanding choices for consumers. It’s a win-win for all.”

Another bill, HB 1312, increases the minimum amounts drivers must pay for auto liability coverage for property damage and injuries or deaths of other persons. The current limits are $10,000 for property damage and the death or injury of one person and $20,000 for multiple deaths or injuries. The new legislation raises those limits to $25,000 for property damage, $15,000 for the death or injury of one person, and $30,000 for the death or injury of more than one person.

Last year, a similar bill but with higher limits was vetoed at NAMIC’s request. “Evidently, the Legislature believes strongly that it is necessary to raise these limits, despite the fact that rates are likely to increase,” Reynolds commented.

Additional bills passed by the Legislature include the following:

SB 308 provides for a pre-trial hearing regarding the qualifications and admissibility of expert witness testimony, and extends the deadline for filing expert witness disclosures. “Louisiana does not have uniform application of standards for expert testimony and methodologies used in court cases,” Reynolds pointed out. “This often leads to testimony from unqualified ‘experts’ and the use of evidence that is unreliable.” Passage of SB 308 will create a uniform procedure for qualifying and excluding expert witnesses and methodologies in court cases. It is similar to statutes recently passed in Georgia, Mississippi, and Michigan, and follows model legislation by the American Legislative Exchange Council.

SB 44 provides a new round of matching grants to qualified insurance companies that write new property insurance policies to encourage the depopulation of Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state’s insurer of last resort. “This legislation will foster additional insurance competition, leading to more choices for consumers,” Reynolds noted. “We commend the Legislature for passing legislation that will lead to overall a better insurance market in the state.”

For further information, contact
Nancy Grover
Director - Media Relations
(202) 628-1558 Tel
(202) 628-1601 Fax
ngrover@namic.org

Posted: Tuesday, June 24, 2008 12:00:00 AM. Modified: Tuesday, June 24, 2008 9:53:29 AM.

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