December 17, 2020

Insurance Commissioner Donelon Explains Supplemental Claims Process, LDI Complaint Process at Legislative Hearing on 2020 Storm Season

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon told members of the House and Senate insurance committees that policyholders affected by the 2020 storms can file supplemental claims with their insurers if they have not received sufficient resources to rebuild. That right is controlled by policy language but is generally available for up to two years.

He also told the Joint Insurance Committee that the Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI) is always ready to take complaints if consumers believe their insurers are not properly adjusting claims. The LDI has a formal complaint process through which LDI staff investigate grievances about property, health and life insurance.

“The bottom line is, we want policyholders to call us if they’re having problems,” said Commissioner Donelon. “We’re here to help.”

If consumers have questions about their policies or want LDI to reach out to an insurer on their behalf, they should call 1-800-259-5300. Policyholders can also file a formal complaint at

So far, LDI staff has assisted nearly 300 families at a resource center in Lake Charles, has made inquiries to insurers on behalf of 93 policyholders, and has taken more than 700 complaints related to the record 2020 hurricane season.

Commissioner Donelon told the committee that policyholders can cash insurance checks without worrying that it will affect their ability to garner additional resources for rebuilding. Policyholders can file supplemental claims if they find additional damage or if their contractors discover that the initial claim payment was insufficient. People can continue filing supplemental claims until their properties have been rebuilt, subject to any limits contained in their policy.

Several community representatives and members of industry also spoke before the House and Senate Insurance Committees and the Department will be looking into their comments and releasing more information about claims related to Hurricanes Laura, Delta and Zeta as it becomes available.

Here’s a summary of advice from the Louisiana Department of Insurance to frequently asked questions about the 2020 storm season:

  • Cash your claim check. It does not mean that you agree with the amount of money that the insurer paid you. The initial claim payment represents what the company believes it owes you based on what its adjuster saw. Start your repairs and ask for more money if you need it.
  • File a supplemental claim if the actual damage to your home is more extensive than what was documented in the original adjustment. A supplemental claim adds the newly found damage or additional cost to the original claim. The insurance company may send out an adjuster to review the new damage or tell you to document it with pictures and video on your own, but you should not repair the damage until it has been documented. This right to file supplemental claims is controlled by policy language but is generally available for up to two years.
  • You can file multiple claims for supplemental damage until your home has been restored to its pre-storm condition. If your contractor discovers even more damage when they begin the job, you can go back to your insurer again. This process can repeat itself until all damage caused by the hurricane has been repaired.
  • If you’re stuck, try resolving your differences through the “appraisal process.” Most standard homeowners policies include a provision that outlines a process for resolving damage-related disputes between you and your insurer using outside appraisers and an umpire. See La. R.S. 22:1311 for more details. The appraisal process can help you resolve your dispute without the expense of hiring a lawyer or a public adjuster.
  • Insurers often start by paying the “actual cash value,” or depreciated value of your property. If you have a “replacement cost value” policy, the insurer will pay you the remaining value of the damage or loss when you file receipts demonstrating your additional costs.
  • Check your policy or call your agent for details on the Additional Living Expenses provision, or ALE. Many homeowners policies include provisions to cover the extra expenses you encounter while displaced from your home. ALE is supposed to cover the difference between what you would normally spend on things like food and other essentials while you are at home and when you are displaced. It is designed to cover additional expenses, not ordinary bills.

Please click here for claims data related to the 2020 hurricane season.

About the Louisiana Department of Insurance: The Louisiana Department of Insurance works to improve competition in the state’s insurance market while assisting individuals and businesses with the information and resources they need to be informed consumers of insurance. As a regulator, the LDI enforces the laws that provide a fair and stable marketplace and makes certain that insurers comply with the laws in place to protect policyholders. You can contact the LDI by calling 1-800-259-5300 or visiting