Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon announced March 2 that SafePoint Insurance Co. will take over approximately 24,000 homeowners policies from Americas Insurance Co. SafePoint previously took over policies from two other insurers, which failed in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, Access Home and State National Fire, in December.
SafePoint’s assumption of these policies, which is retroactive to Feb. 1, means that 24,000 Louisiana households can avoid searching for new insurance coverage or turning to Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state-sponsored insurer of last resort. Policyholders who were previously with Americas, which was placed in receivership in January, will have their policies automatically transferred to SafePoint on the same rates and terms that Americas offered.
“SafePoint’s decision to step up and take on all 53,000 policies left behind by the three insurers that failed following Hurricane Ida is great news,” said Commissioner Donelon. “Their assumption of these policies will help ensure Louisiana policyholders have a smooth transition into 2022 and beyond.”
SafePoint, based in Florida, has been licensed in Louisiana since 2015 and has an A rating from Demotech. As of the end of 2020, it had just $959,035 in direct written homeowners premium and 0.05 percent of the Louisiana homeowners insurance market. The insurer will grow dramatically with its takeover of Americas, Access Home and State National Fire polices. Americas had a combined $26.9 million in direct written premium and 1.31 percent of the homeowners insurance market in Louisiana.
SafePoint voluntarily agreed to grant those customers who had been with Americas for more than three years the protection provided by Louisiana’s unique three-year consumer protection statute that makes it difficult for companies to nonrenew or change rates or coverage on an individual basis.
These transfers will occur even if the customer’s home was damaged by Hurricane Ida and has not yet been repaired. SafePoint is guaranteeing renewals of all policies for at least one year after Feb. 1.
The Louisiana Insurance Guaranty Association (LIGA) is responsible for the approximately 13,000 Hurricane Ida-related claims, as well as for claims from other events that were incurred prior to Feb. 1. SafePoint will cover any insurance claims incurred on or after that date.
LIGA can pay up to $500,000 per claim due to legislation by Commissioner Donelon that increased coverage from $150,000 to $300,000 per claim in 2008 and from $300,000 to $500,000 in 2010. Those increases make Louisiana one of only nine states with guaranty fund coverage limits that high.
Louisiana Citizens offers coverage for any property owner who cannot get coverage from a private company, even for storm-damaged homes.
Americas customers with questions about their coverage should call SafePoint at 855-243-9740 or contact their insurance agent. They can reach the receiver at 225-201-0107, according to LDI’s news release. Americas customers with questions about an insurance claim with a date of loss before Feb. 1, 2022, should contact LIGA at 225-277-7151 or go to www.laiga.org.