The Homeowners Ad Hoc Committee of the Louisiana Property and Casualty
Insurance Commission (LPCIC) met earlier this month to delve further
into the wind mitigation issues that were raised in a meeting of the
full LPCIC this past October. PIA's Secretary/Treasurer Manuel DePascual
chairs this group and oversaw an informative and active discussion of
some of the experiences and problems that have arisen in implementing
and encouraging retrofit to the wind mitigation measures that are the
basis of the Louisiana Uniform Construction Code. Senator Dan Morrish
serves as Vice Chair.
Guest speakers included Barry Gates, Vice President of Product Management
at Bankers Insurance Company on wind mitigation in Louisiana and Donald
Griffin, Vice President of Personal Lines at the Property Casualty
Insurers Association of America on wind mitigation in other states.
Due to a prior commitment Mary Frances Fournet, Vice President of
Product Management at American Strategic Insurance Corporation,
sent a statement on wind mitigation in Louisiana that was read
into the record.
These speakers were joined by a panel consisting of: Ray Kothe, Chairman
of the Louisiana State Uniform Construction Code Council; Randy Noel,
Board Member and Immediate Past Chair of the LSUCCC and Bill Hatchett,
Partner of Wind Mitigation Surveyors. Panel members from the Louisiana
Department of Insurance included Ed O'Brien, Deputy Commissioner of
Property & Casualty; John Lamke from the Office of Consumer Advocacy
and Rachelle Carter, Director of P&C Policy Forms.
Committee members actively participated in the discussion which covered
some of the following issues:
Wind mitigation is the structural designs, construction techniques
and materials that have been proven to avoid or reduce damages from
hurricanes. Some retrofitting can be more easily and economically
accomplished — such as bracing of garage doors, hanging
exterior doors to open out and installing a secondary water barrier
when re-roofing. But some measures are expensive and interdependent
— such as rafter-to-wall strapping is dependent on
wall-to-foundation fastening for maximum effectiveness.
Continue to learn from Florida's lengthy experience in wind mitigation —
both the good and the bad. In particular, do not impose on insurers a
specific premium credit for specific wind mitigation measures, but do
adhere to a rigorous inspection program to assure that construction
and the materials used meet or exceed Code requirements in every
It will take time for Louisiana to realize all the benefits of wind
mitigation. Insurers rely on catastrophe modelers — who are
starting to consider wind mitigation — to estimate coastal
risk. They rely on reinsurers — who do not give much credit to
wind mitigation — to assume some of the insurers' coastal
risk. Some homeowners in coastal and southern parishes are still
having trouble finding insurance in the voluntary market. It is
difficult in these economically challenging times for these
homeowners to see the benefit in retrofitting their homes when
there is no guaranty that the investment will generate more
available and affordable insurance options.
Education and consumer awareness are vital to successful wind
mitigation. Contractors, wind mitigation surveyors, insurance
agents and homeowners all must become fully aware of the specific
measures, insurance premium discounts and long-term savings to
those who build or retrofit to the Code or the more stringent
standards of IBHS.
The Homeowners Ad Hoc Committee and LPCIC will continue to
gather information and research these issues.