all insurance matters to Commissioner of Insurance James J. Donelon (commissioner); R.S. 29:724; R.S. 29:766; R.S. 22:2; R.S. 22:3; R.S. 22:1214.(7), (12) and (14); R.S. 49:950 et seq.
On August 27, 2008, Governor Bobby Jindal declared a State of Emergency within the state of Louisiana in response to the expected landfall of Hurricane Gustav. As a result of the hurricane's landfall, Hurricane Gustav caused extensive power outages and flooding that destroyed many homes and impacted the livelihood of the citizens of Louisiana. This State of Emergency extends from Wednesday, August 27, 2008 through Friday, September 26, 2008.
Since the issuance of Emergency Rule 24, an estimated 305,027 citizens from seven (7) additional parishes have been added to the list of parishes included in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Notice of a Major Disaster Declaration. (Amendments Nos. 3 & 4 to FEMA-1786-DR). Thus, 3.4 million Louisiana citizens, approximately 80% of the population of Louisiana, may have suffered damage due to Hurricane Gustav. In some places, it could be several weeks before electricity is restored. The homes of many Louisiana citizens were destroyed precluding habitation. The damage caused by Hurricane Gustav has resulted in the closing of businesses and financial institutions, the temporary suspension of mail service, the temporary displacement of persons from their homes, loss of personal belongings and temporary loss of employment. This disruption has affected the ability of these citizens to timely pay their insurance premiums, access their insurance policies, and communicate with insurance agents and their respective insurance companies for insurance related matters. Hurricane Gustav has created a mass disruption to the normalcy previously enjoyed by Louisianans and produced an immediate threat to the public health, safety, and welfare of Louisiana citizens.
The commissioner will be hindered in the proper performance of his duties and responsibilities regarding this State of Emergency without the authority to suspend certain statutes in the Louisiana Insurance Code and the rules and regulations that implement the Louisiana Insurance Code including, but not limited to, cancellation, nonrenewal, reinstatement, premium payment and claim filings with regard to any and all types of insurance subject to the Louisiana Insurance Code.
In light of this, Emergency Rule 24 is issued and shall apply to all insurers, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), health and accident insurers, property and casualty insurers, surplus lines insurers and any and all other entities doing business in Louisiana and/or regulated by the commissioner, including any entity enumerated in Emergency Rule 25, regarding any and all types of insurance, including, but not limited to, flood insurance (not issued pursuant to the NFIP), homeowners insurance, life insurance, group and individual health and accident insurance, limited benefit insurance, vehicle insurance, liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, burglary and forgery insurance, glass insurance, fidelity and surety insurance, title insurance, fire and extended coverage insurance, steam boiler and sprinkler leakage insurance, crop
and livestock insurance (not issued pursuant to a USDA program), marine and transportation insurance, credit life, medical supplement insurance, credit property and casualty insurance, annuity insurance, HMOs, professional and medical malpractice liability insurance, property and casualty insurance, all surplus lines insurance, self insurance funds, reciprocal insurance and any and all other insurance related entities licensed by the commissioner or doing business in Louisiana.
Emergency Rule 24 is applicable to insureds, as defined in Section 4401, from the following 36 parishes: Acadia, Allen, Ascension, Assumption, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Cameron, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, Sabine, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Vermilion, Vernon, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana. Emergency Rule 24 is also applicable to the following seven (7) parishes: Calcasieu, Catahoula, Franklin, Grant, LaSalle, Saint Helena and Washington. The zip codes applicable to these 43 parishes include, but may not be limited to, the list identified as "Hurricane Gustav Parish Zip Code List" found on the official Louisiana Department of Insurance Web site at www.ldi.state.la.us. Insureds shall include, but not be limited to, any and all policyholders, members, subscribers, enrollees and certificate holders.
In the ordinary course of business, insurers, HMOs, group and individual health and accident insurers, property and casualty insurers, surplus lines insurers and any and all other entities doing business in Louisiana and/or regulated by the commissioner send notices to insureds, many of which are required by statute, giving the insured certain limited periods of time within which to pay premiums or otherwise respond. Hurricane Gustav and its aftermath have produced a disruption in the notification process because of the inability of insureds to receive mail due to mandatory and/or voluntary evacuations and/or the destruction or damage of their homes. Thus, many of Hurricane Gustav’s victims are currently unable to timely act or respond to such notices or to timely pay insurance premiums and need additional time within which to act or respond. Some insurers, HMOs, group and individual health and accident insurers, property and casualty insurers, surplus lines insurers and any and all other entities doing business in Louisiana and/or regulated by the commissioner may attempt to cancel, nonrenew or not reinstate such insurance policies. Additionally, some insureds with policies in force as of 12:01 a.m. on August 30, 2008, who wish to make timely payment, are also prevented from making such payment because of the aforementioned circumstances. This could result in an insured being without coverage and/or potentially uninsured. Emergency Rule 24 provides emergency relief to the insureds of Louisiana affected by Hurricane Gustav and its aftermath so that they will be insured and their coverage will continue under those policies that were in effect as of 12:01 a.m. on August 30, 2008.
Part XI. Rules
Louisiana Register Vol. 34, No. 10 October 20, 2008