A coalition of local non-profits are trying to help educate business owners on emergency preparedness. 


A recent city survey asked local business owners what kind of steps they’d taken to deal with disasters and emergencies. 50 percent said they had no written emergency plans. Around half also said they have no backup generators, and no interruption insurance in case their businesses close suddenly.

Gary Nichols / U.S. Navy

President Barack Obama has signed a new law that will give hundreds of thousands of homeowners living in flood-prone areas relief from big jumps in insurance costs.

Lawmakers from both parties supported the measure in response to angry homeowners who faced sharp premium hikes after an overhaul of the government's flood insurance program two years ago.

The House is expected to vote as early as next week to partially repeal a 2012 law that overhauled the National Flood Insurance Program, which is tens of billions of dollars in debt.

The law was meant to make people living in flood-prone areas foot more of the insurance bill. But lawmakers didn't realize how many homeowners would be affected — or how hard they'd be hit.

You can find some of those homeowners in Bayou Gauche, about 30 miles west of New Orleans.

State insurance regulators have rejected a request by State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. to raise homeowners' rates by 16.6 percent.

The rate revision would have affected more than 300,000 policyholders.

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said Monday he declined the company's request after a review found the rate revision not to be actuarially justified.

State Farm spokesman Gary Stephenson says they're disappointed by Donelon's decision. He says the company will continue to work with the department to find a resolution.

The state's property insurer of last resort has proposed raising homeowner's rates an average of 7.7 percent statewide this year.

The Advocate reports the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp.'s board said Thursday that the rate increase is being driven in part by higher reinsurance costs for coastal areas south of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

Jan. 1 will mark Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon's first day as president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Donelon said in a statement Friday that the position will help him place Louisiana "at the forefront in the study and development of insurance regulation."

Donelon has been a member of the national trade group since he became commissioner in 2006. He joined the staff of the state's insurance department in 2001, serving as chief deputy commissioner.

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says his department's new online system will make it easier for Louisiana residents to shop for the best insurance rates in their cities.

You can't get quotes for your house and car. The auto insurance guide compares quotes for a 2004, 2007 or 2010 Toyota Camry driven by people of different ages, with different driving records. The homeowners' guide compares premiums for a brick house that's less than one year old or 5, 15 or 25 years old, at varying coverage levels.

A state-run insurance company of last resort has agreed to settle two remaining class-action lawsuits tied to claims handled after hurricanes Katrina and Rita for $61 million.

The board for the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. voted unanimously Thursday to settle the long-running lawsuits. Policyholders sued the company over the slow handling of claims after the hurricanes struck in 2005.

The board also authorized company CEO Richard Robertson to put a cap of $4,500 per claim.

The University of Louisiana-Monroe College of Business has been awarded a research contract from the Louisiana Department of Insurance to study and provide support for proposed legislative insurance reforms.

The News-Star reports the research is designed to provide support for proposals to improve the Louisiana insurance market, making insurance more widely available and rates more affordable.

The college has done work on the subject for several years under state contracts.

Homeowners will pay $54 on average next year on their insurance policies to cover bond payments being made by state-backed Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp., which had to borrow nearly $1 billion to pay claims from hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The board voted Thursday to impose a 3.74 percent assessment on all commercial and personal policyholders in the state starting Jan. 1.