Insurance claims in Louisiana from damage related to last year’s Hurricane Ida have exceeded $13 billion through June 30th.
State officials said that 185 buses were ready to pick up people who stayed behind in parishes, like Jefferson, where there was no electric power and little drinking water, and move them to other parts of the state.
Policyholders have filed 460,709 claims of all types from Hurricane Ida, of which 65%, or 299,440 were closed with payment, resulting in $9.8 billion in payments for damage caused by the event.
As people across southeastern Louisiana began to take in the scale of damage from Hurricane Ida, a task severely hindered by widespread power outages and limited phone service, search-and-rescue teams fanned out to respond to calls for help that had gone unanswered.
In total, insurers and now paid or reserved to pay $13.1 billion on all types of Ida-related claims in the state.
This is the third measure of damage from the storm and represents an increase from the previous $10.5 billion figure reported in early February, when policyholders had filed 434,633 claims.
This updated information provided include claims from both personal and commercial insurance. While claims and payment data from the National Flood Insurance Program is not included as it is not regulated by the LDI.
Hurricane Ida battered Louisiana on August 29th, 2021, as a Category 4 storm which impacted 25 parishes, after making a prior landfall in the Caribbean.
“The downtown area really took a beating,” says Jonathan Foret, executive director of the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center in Houma, a town of about 30,000 southwest of New Orleans. He points to boarded up historic storefronts and missing roofs.
Foret is surveying the lingering damage on a drive to see his insurance agent. He’s among tens of thousands of Louisiana homeowners scrambling to find new property insurance in the midst of a new Atlantic hurricane season. Most major companies have quit covering the coast, and now smaller firms are going under after Louisiana was hit with two major hurricanes in the last two years.
“It’s actually had more of a compounding effect of driving by those things and seeing them broken and destroyed every day,” he says. “It’s become more depressing than I thought it would be.”
His own home is still in need of repairs – a tarp covers his kitchen roof awaiting a contractor, which are hard to come by. Now he’s trying to iron out this complication with his insurance agent, Tracee Bennett at La-Terre Insurance Agency.
He hands her envelopes that have come from a new company, asking her if they’re paid up. Bennett tells him his coverage is now with the state-run Louisiana Citizen’s Property Insurance Corporation.
“We still have people with damage from Ida, so if you have an open claim or damage that you’re still repairing, Citizen’s is the only option that we have,” she says.