Changes May Cut Homeowner's Insurance Costs
Most people are not aware of a recent change in Louisiana law that allows
for a reduction of your homeowner's insurance premium.
LSA-R.S. 22:1483 requires all insurers of Louisiana residents to reduce
the insurance premium to those who build or retrofit their homes to comply
with the requirements of the state's uniform construction code.
What this means is that if you have built your home since the effective date
of the state building code (2007), or if you received damage from a hurricane
or other source and made repairs in compliance with the state building code,
you can get a discount on your homeowner's insurance. You can also get a
discount if you have certain measures that protect against wind damage, even
if not required by the building code. Louisiana Commissioner of Insurance
Jim Donelon issued Regulation 94 providing rules with which the insurance
companies must comply to enforce this provision.
The regulation applies to homes that have been built or retrofitted, and to
modular homes, but not to mobile homes (trailers). It does not apply to
commercial buildings, or to accessory buildings such as barns, detached
garages, storage buildings, etc.
The homeowner is required to obtain an inspection by a "qualified professional,"
including a building code enforcement officer, registered architect, registered
engineer, or a registered third-party provider. A registered third-party provider
is a certified wind inspector licensed by the state. At last count, there were
less than 20 such providers in Louisiana. These certified wind inspectors charge
between $100 and $200 to make the inspection. Louisiana Citizens accepts
inspections from the parish building inspector.
The regulation says the insurance company can require the insured to provide as
documentation the existence of mitigation measures. A sample inspection form is
attached to Regulation 94, but insurance companies may use different forms.
The amount of the discount depends on the location of the property and the number
of recognized wind mitigation measures that are used. If you have every possible
mitigation measure, you may get a discount of 30 percent on your premiums. For
hurricane storm shutters, a homeowner can receive a 10 percent discount if
certain provisions are met. An additional discount of between 5 percent and 8
percent is given for roof mitigation systems, and another discount of 8 percent
is given for a total hip roof.
As attorneys, we are concerned the public is largely unaware of this opportunity.
The Louisiana Association for Justice is having discussions with the commissioner
of insurance's office on how we might increase public awareness. We felt that this
letter might serve as a first step in "getting the word out" to the residents of
our area so that as many people as possible can take advantage of this discount.