Mar. 8—Farmers Insurance looks to sell policies again in Louisiana after a seven-year hiatus.
The Louisiana Department of Insurance approved the California-based insurance giant's recent application to sell auto, homeowners, condo and renters insurance this year.
Farmers began selling homeowners insurance policies in Louisiana in 1999. Its market share in the state was largest in 2007, when it had $56.2 million in direct written premiums, about 4.1% of the market. After Hurricane Katrina, the company began to shed policies until 2014 when it left the market, citing substantial losses. At the time, Farmer's Insurance had 23,000 homeowner and 7,000 auto policies, or about 2.5% of the state's homeowner market.
Before it left the market, the company attempted to raise rates on homeowners by between 18% and 39%, which was not approved by the state.
Foremost Insurance Co., a subsidiary of Farmer's Insurance was still selling residential property insurance in Louisiana. Foremost had 7,200 mobile home policies alongside 5,000 auto policies at the time.
The insurance company was among those recruited by the state agency to return; it was undergoing a nationwide expansion plan.
"Recruiting more insurers — large and small — to write policies in Louisiana is part of our strategy to increase competition and put downward pressure on rates," said Jim Donelon, Louisiana Insurance Commissioner.
Donelon noted changes to tort laws has created a more competitive business climate for insurers.
Farmers Insurance is selling policies directly to consumers online instead of a local agent who would typically broker the deal. The company has been looking to expand its marketshare across the South and along the East Coast in recent years.
"Our recognition amongst consumers continues to grow, with our advertising resonating with consumers and increasing demand for our presence in more markets, including Louisiana," according to a statement from Farmers Insurance.
(c)2021 The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.
Visit The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La. at www.theadvocate.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.