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PIA Members, Carrier Communicators Talk Catastrophe Communications

Three PIA members who had first-hand experience serving their insureds in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina shared their experiences with communications staff from carriers throughout the country May 17 in New Orleans. PIA National board member Richie Clements, co-chair of the PIA National Natural Catastrophe Working Group was joined on a panel with PIA National Past President Robert Page and Louisiana agent John Faucheux during a meeting of the Professional Insurance Communicators of America (PICA) moderated by PIA National's Ted Besesparis, a volunteer director of the group.

Panel members detailed the challenges they dealt with in the aftermath of Katrina, which generated the largest single loss in the history of insurance — $41.1 billion and more than 1.7 million claims across six states. The loss does not include another $16.1 billion in losses insured by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The panelists offered the carrier communications people tips on what agents need in disasters and also discussed the need to enact a nationwide natural catastrophe public policy to address future disasters.

Also during the meeting, Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said the flooding due to the opening of the Morganza floodway to save New Orleans and Baton Rouge from being flooded "unequivocally" will be covered by flood insurance. He said the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will not deny coverage just because the floodway was opened on purpose. Donelon says any policyholder who had the insurance activated 30 days before the event is covered, adding that a much bigger problem is that so few people in a federally-designated floodway have flood insurance. He said he is urging people all over south Louisiana to get a policy from NFIP, especially with hurricane season starting in less than two weeks.

Thanks to Our 2024 PIA Partners:
AFCO Capital Premium Financing CRC Group Gulf States Insurance Co.
LRA Workers' Comp National General, an Allstate company Stonetrust Insurance
Professional Insurance Agents of Louisiana
4021 W. E. Heck Ct., Building K • Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70816
(800) 349-3434 • (225) 766-7770 • (225) 766-1601 (fax)