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4.17.23 – FOX8Live.com -LAPLACE, La. (WVUE)

Business insurance premiums through Louisiana Citizens increased 73 percent this year.

At Jacob’s World Famous Andouille on Airline Highway in LaPlace, links of large sausages were wrapped up for customers. It is a business that sits in an area hard hit by Hurricane Ida.

Holly Lions and her family own the sausage business.

“We had some exterior damage after Ida, just like everybody else,” Lions said. “But our interior was fine for the most part. We were able to get our business up and running within a week. Now, that doesn’t mean that we didn’t have renovations and stuff to fix. But we were able to get the basics going.”

The popular spot on the major roadway fared better than many other businesses and homes in St. John The Baptist Parish.

“It was probably like four months until we felt like we were back to normal, but we were fortunate,” Lions said.

Like many homeowners in South Louisiana, the small business was not spared higher property insurance rates in the aftermath of the hurricane.

“We’re paying right about 6 percent for our insurance. We definitely went up after Ida,” Lions said. ”We are fortunate that a lot of our business is from all 50 states. Last year, we shipped to all 50 states.”

Many businesses are paying much more for insurance coverage. Dan Burghardt, owner of Dan Burghardt Insurance Agency, says the commercial division of his business is working overtime to find coverage for businesses.

“Trying to find the best rates,” he said. “But one good example is a customer that was explained to me was a million-dollar building, had a premium two years ago that was $10,000, and the next year which was right after COVID it renewed at $22,000. And this year, it’s $32,000. So, this has become a problem.”

Thousands of businesses have coverage through Louisiana Citizens, the state’s insurer of last resort. Following back-to-back years of powerful hurricanes in Louisiana, some insurers failed financially and others stopped writing new wind-and-hail policies.

“I talk to my commercial agents and they’re pulling their hair out trying to find customers coverage,” Burghardt said. “The renewals are all gone up. Eighty percent of them now are not — on the commercial end of it — including wind.”

Commercial coverage premiums through Louisiana Citizens went up 73 percent. For homeowners, it increased by 63 percent in January.

Burghardt says the type of business someone operates affects premiums.

“A retail store, a clothing store is not going to pay as much as a restaurant or anything that’s operating a kitchen or a grill,” he said.