• September 30, 2023

Homeowner questions process after state takes over folded insurance companies

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – One Gonzales homeowner has plenty of questions after the state was forced to take over two folded insurance companies.

“Exactly 101 days and I still don’t have any answers as to who’s coming to repair the home,” the homeowner said.

The homeowner requested that WAFB not identify him, but said that he has gotten nowhere in the process. After Hurricane Ida hit, like many others, he filed a claim with his insurance company. Contractors came out, gutted his living room and put a tarp on his roof so he was looking forward to real work beginning. The only problem though is the insurance company, Access Homes Insurance folded so his claim along with more than 19,000 others were left in limbo. He says he didn’t find out until after he called the company looking for answers.

”The person that answered the phone told us we’re entering into a receivership and she said it in a whisper like I wasn’t supposed to know that,” the homeowner said. “I felt deceived. An insurance company is supposed to do just that– insure me when things go wrong. We live in Louisiana. We have hurricanes yearly. So, I’m expecting when these things occur, my insurance has been paid and I’m up to date and my policy’s current, I’m supposed to be covered.

”The homeowner WAFB spoke with is not alone. Two insurance companies, Access Home and State National Fire Insurance, have both folded prompting the state to step in.

”Well their obligations exceeded their assets, including their reinsurance,” said Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon.

Donelon says the process is similar to if a bank were to fail. The companies are placed into a receivership which means the state will take over those policies.

WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked the commissioner if a company is done once they go into a receivership.

“Most of the time, they’re done,” said Donelon.

While the company may be done, those who depend on those policies should still be covered.

”They are absolutely covered up to $500,000,” the commissioner added. Donelon says he wrote a letter to each of the policyholders explaining the change and letting them know they should be fine; however, the homeowner WAFB spoke with says he hasn’t heard anything on his situation since the state took over. He has had a tarp on his roof for months and he is just afraid with no word on his insurance, things will only get worse before they get better.

”I’m just at a loss for words because you hear about this on the news but until you actually go through it, you never realize how disheartening and troublesome it can be,” the homeowner said.

When asked if the homeowner should have been waiting a long time before hearing anything on his claim, the commissioner said it is not to be expected and he’s only heard of one other case where a homeowner faced a similar issue.

“It’s been actually less than a month since we put these two companies into receivership so I’m sure that will be worked out,” said Donelon.

Until it’s worked out, the homeowner says he will try to trust the process but he has a simple message for Access Home Insurance.

”If you expect me to pay what you’re charging and to pay what you’re charging on time, then I expect you to fulfill your obligation,” the homeowner said.

The state was in court Tuesday, December 29 and SafePoint Insurance Company was approved to take over the nearly 30,000 policies affected.

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