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Louisiana Citizens ups commercial property limits as private carriers exit state

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Louisiana Citizens has increased the amount of commercial property insurance coverage available, aiming to guarantee that businesses can buy enough coverage through the state-backed carrier if they cannot get coverage in the private market.

Commercial coverage limits were temporarily increased to $10mn for a single building, $3.2mn for content, and up to $20mn of aggregate coverage per insured. The prior limits were $5.5mn, $ 2.2mn, and $11mn, respectively.

The increases took effect immediately and are expected to disappear in two years, when the cutoff levels will be reassessed.

The last time the trade limits were increased by the state-sponsored insurer of last resort was in 2013.

Citizens also covers personal property up to $1mn, with $500,000 in content coverage.

The state Department of Insurance said that 2020’s busy hurricane season, which saw hurricanes Laura, Delta and Zeta make landfall, followed by Hurricane Ida in 2021, resulted in some companies limiting their property insurance underwriting.

“Fewer companies actively underwriting commercial and private property policies in the state likely means more residents will need to purchase coverage with Citizens,” the agency said in a statement.

Insured losses in Louisiana from the 2020 hurricane season have risen to $10.6bn, the agency said last week.

“The Louisiana Citizens board has taken prudent steps to ensure that Citizens can accommodate a wider range of properties if businesses and homeowners cannot find coverage in the private sector,” Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said in a statement.

“Citizens is prepared for changes in the private market after the back-to-back stormy seasons we have just experienced.”

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