The latest tally on the insured losses from the 2020 hurricane season is in, and insurers have paid or reserved to pay $10.6 billion to cover claims in Louisiana from hurricanes Laura, Delta and Zeta as of Sept. 30, according to the latest data call issued by the Louisiana Department of Insurance.
LDI announced the updated 2020 hurricane data in a news release issued Nov. 5.
By law, policyholders have two years from the date of the storm to resolve claims before they must file a lawsuit to preserve their rights to continue negotiating. Although the amount of insured losses could change slightly as policyholders wrap up their claims, the Sept. 30 figures represent the fifth and final report to the LDI quantifying damage caused by the 2020 hurricanes.
Policyholders have filed 323,727 claims of all types from the three storms through the third quarter of this year. Of those, 218,615 claims, or 68 percent, were closed with payment as of Sept. 30, garnering $8.6 billion in payments for damage caused by the three hurricanes. Insurers have reserved an additional $2 billion to pay on claims resulting from those storms.
“Residents of our state suffered a devastating blow from the 2020 hurricanes, as these figures attest,” Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said. “With labor and materials prices rising because of the labor shortages and supply chain disruptions during and after the pandemic, I encourage all policyholders to continue filing supplemental claims if they discover that the cost to rebuild is more expensive than what they have been paid.”
The 2020 storm season was the most active ever in Louisiana, with three hurricanes plus tropical storms Cristobal and Marco striking the state.
Last fall, the LDI issued a data call requiring all property and casualty insurers, including surplus lines insurers, to submit their claims data in Louisiana on hurricanes Laura, Delta and Zeta through the third quarter of 2021. The figures represent insurance claims from both personal and commercial insurance.
These payments do not include claims or payments from the National Flood Insurance Program, which is not regulated by the Louisiana Department of Insurance. The figures also do not include uninsured losses and what people paid out of pocket to cover the deductibles on their insurance policies. As such, the total cost of the three storms is much higher.
Later this year, the LDI plans to initiate a data call about Hurricane Ida, which struck Louisiana on Aug. 29, 2021. The number of claims and amount of insured losses from Hurricane Ida, which, like Laura, was a strong Category 4 storm, is expected to exceed those of Laura, because Ida hit a more populous area.
Policyholders have filed 177,691 claims from Hurricane Laura, which struck Southwest Louisiana on Aug. 27, 2020, as a strong Category 4 storm. As of Sept. 30, insurers had closed 90 percent of the claims from Hurricane Laura; 72 percent of claims were closed with payment. Total paid losses plus reserves on reported claims for Hurricane Laura as of the end of September were $9 billion, accounting for the vast majority of damage from the 2020 hurricane season in Louisiana. So far insurers have paid out $7.4 billion for Laura claims and have reserved $1.6 billion.
According to LDI data, there were 133,415 residential property claims from Hurricane Laura. Residential property claims accounted for 75 percent of all Hurricane Laura claims and 48 percent of the losses plus reserves.
Paid losses for residential property claims amount to $4.0 billion with nearly $300 million more reserved for losses. There were 21,541 personal auto claims from Laura, 12 percent of total claims. Insurers have closed 99 percent of the personal auto claims at a cost of $148 million and $14 million more reserved.
There were 13,150 commercial property claims with 74 percent of the claims closed and 54 percent closed with payment, costing $2.6 billion with $1.2 billion more reserved for losses.
Commercial property claims represent 7.4 percent of total Laura claims and 41.9 percent of the losses paid plus reserves. There were 724 commercial auto claims, 98 percent closed, 81 percent closed with payment amounting to $20.4 million and another $1.5 million reserved. Insurers have paid out $289.4 million in business interruption claims and have almost $80 million more reserved.
Private flood insurers closed 32 of 67 claims with payment of $1.7 million, almost $52,000 per claim. Another 43 percent of claims were closed without payment. Private flood insurers have $3.4 million reserved for losses.
Policyholders have filed 89,451 claims from Hurricane Delta, which made landfall in Southwest Louisiana on Oct. 9, 2021, as a Category 2 storm. At the end of September, insurers had closed 93 percent of all Delta claims, and 63 percent of the claims were closed with payment. Insurers have paid or reserved $875.5 million to cover losses from reported claims for Hurricane Delta as of Sept. 30.
The 74,478 residential property claims accounted for more than 83 percent of Hurricane Delta’s claims, and insurers so far paid $506.7 million in losses for the 46,370 claims that were closed with payment. Another 7.7 percent of the claims from Delta were for personal auto, with 99 percent of those claims closed and paid losses amounting to $36.1 million.
Policyholders have filed 56,585 claims from Hurricane Zeta, which made landfall in Terrebonne Parish on Oct. 28, 2020, and traveled through the New Orleans area as a Category 3 storm. As of Sept. 30, insurers had closed 94 percent of reported Zeta claims; 60 percent of the claims were closed with payment. Total paid losses plus reserves on reported claims were $629.3 million for Hurricane Zeta.
Residential property claims (45,855) account for 81 percent of Hurricane Zeta claims and 46.2 percent of the loss payments plus reserves.
Insurers paid out $279.3 million for Zeta residential property claims and have another $11.5 million reserved for losses. Commercial property claims were 7.4 percent of the total number of claims and 44.3 percent of the losses plus reserves. Personal auto claims represent 9.0 percent of the total claims and 4.1 percent of the paid losses plus reserves.
Data for the 2020 hurricanes through Sept. 30 can be found at ldi.la.gov/datacallresults in tables and in an interactive map.
Anyone who is having trouble with their insurance claim should file a complaint with the Louisiana Department of Insurance by going to ldi.la.gov/filecomplaint or by calling 800-259-5300.