2020 Hurricanes Cost Insurers More Than $10B in Louisiana

Aptopix Tropical Weather Louisiana
People survey the damage left in the wake of Hurricane Laura Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Holly Beach, La. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Insurance companies are on track to pay at least $10.6 billion to cover Louisiana claims for damage caused by Hurricanes Laura, Delta and Zeta, according to Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon.

Donelon released the latest data Friday.

The number could still grow slightly larger. The insurance department said that policyholders have two years from the date of the storm to resolve their insurance claims before they have to file a lawsuit to preserve their rights to continue negotiations with insurance companies.

Nearly 324,000 insurance claims have been filed for Laura, Delta and Zeta. Of those, more than 218,000 — nearly 68% — have been closed with $8.6 billion in payments through Sept. 30. Donelon’s office said insurers have set aside another $2 billion to pay other, unresolved claims.

“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,” Donelon, a Republican, said in a statement.

The claims figures don’t include payments from the federally-run National Flood Insurance Program or the amount people paid for their deductibles. That means the true cost of the three hurricanes is much higher.

Laura struck southwestern Louisiana in August 2020 as a Category 4 storm. Delta followed up with another blow to the same area, hitting in October 2020 as a Category 2 hurricane. Zeta made landfall in southeastern Louisiana a few weeks later, at Category 3 strength.

More details of the insurance claims filed for each storm are available online at the insurance department’s website.

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