Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon has approved rate and form filings for Farmers Insurance, the nation’s ninth largest property and casualty insurer, to return to the Louisiana market this month with auto, homeowners, condo and renters insurance.

Donelon announced the rate and form approval on March 8 in a news release.

“The addition of a major national company to the roster of insurers offering property and automobile insurance in our state is a huge win for consumer choice and cost,” Donelon said. “Recruiting more insurers – large and small – to write policies in Louisiana is part of our strategy to increase competition and put downward pressure on rates. I’m very glad to welcome Farmers back to our market.”

Farmers began selling homeowners policies in Louisiana in 1999. Its market share in the state peaked in 2007 when it became the seventh largest homeowners insurer in the market with 4.1 percent of the state’s policies and $56.2 million in direct written premium. But the insurance group began shedding policies in Louisiana’s difficult market after Hurricane Katrina and exited in 2014, leaving only a subsidiary, Foremost Insurance Co., doing residential property business in the Pelican State.

The California-based Farmers decided to return to Louisiana as part of a national expansion to the East and South. In the past decade, the insurer has expanded into Florida, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Mississippi. Louisiana will be the 40th state where the company sells insurance under the Farmers brand.

“While this decision is based on (the carrier’s) national marketing strategy, I’m certain the company noticed our state’s effort to reform our tort laws and that initiative made our state more attractive to them than was the case when they exited our market in 2014. There is no doubt this additional competition will benefit our citizens,” Donelon said.

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Farmers Insurance Group was the ninth largest property and casualty insurer by premium in 2019, the most recent year for which data is available.

Farmers will do business in Louisiana under the names Farmers Insurance Exchange and Truck Insurance Exchange. Farmers plans to offer policies in all 64 parishes.

As Farmers returns to the market, the Louisiana Department of Insurance has now recruited 32 new property insurance companies to Louisiana since 2006.