LDI Media Contacts:
John Ford, 225-342-4950
Public Affairs, 225-342-3612


STPSO Media Contacts:
Lt. Suzanne Carboni, 985-276-1357
Lt. Carli Messina, 985-276-1349


April 26, 2024


JOINT RELEASE: LDI and St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office to Help Consumers Avoid Storm-Related Insurance Fraud

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Photo caption:
STPSO PIO Lt. Suzanne Carboni and Sgt. Scott Davis and Detective Donald Plaisance of the Financial Crimes Division meet in Covington with LDI Office of Insurance Fraud Administrator Dominique Jones and Compliance Investigator Norrie Falgoust to discuss fraud prevention following recent severe weather in the area.

As residents begin to recover from the destructive tornadoes and severe weather that swept through Louisiana on April 10, the Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI) and St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office (STPSO) are jointly reminding consumers to remain alert for potential fraud and other scams.

Investigators from the LDI Office of Insurance Fraud and detectives from the STPSO Property Crimes and Public Affairs divisions met in Covington to outline a plan of action for combatting insurance fraud and educating consumers in the area. The LDI is already investigating potential cases of insurance fraud in the parish, and both the LDI and STPSO are committed to working to prevent additional insurance crime.

“Unfortunately, insurance fraud is an all-too-common crime following storms in Louisiana, and consumers must remain vigilant—even if you didn’t sustain any damage,” said Insurance Commissioner Tim Temple. “I am committing LDI resources to monitor for and investigate fraud in the areas affected by the recent severe weather, and I am grateful that Sheriff Randy Smith and the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office are committed to working alongside us in our efforts.”

“Our thoughts go out to everyone who was affected by the recent storm,” Sheriff Randy Smith said, “and I am committed to using all of the resources we have available, including the state Department of Insurance, to make sure our residents are not further victimized by scammers seeking to make a quick buck. Please use caution during this time of rebuilding to make sure the individuals you are doing business with are who they say they are.”

Scammers and other criminals may attempt to take advantage of storm victims as they recover and rebuild. Some of these fraudulent practices include scammers posing as contractors or housing inspectors, fake solicitations for disaster donations, and false offers of state or federal aid. These scam attempts can be made over the phone, by email or mail, text or even door-to-door.

The LDI and STPSO urge all residents to take the following steps to safeguard themselves against insurance fraud:

  • Contact your insurance carrier immediately if you believe your property sustained damage.
  • If you need repairs after a disaster, request a list of reputable contractors from your insurance carrier, the Better Business Bureau or a specialized organization. Ask for a copy of the contractor’s Louisiana license and proof of insurance.
  • Contact multiple contractors and obtain more than one estimate. Get estimates in writing including all materials, labor payment requirements and timetables for completion. If sub-contractors are required, they should also be listed on the estimate.
  • Be wary of any contractor who uses high pressure sales tactics or discourages you from contacting your insurance company.
  • Do not allow a contractor to inspect your property when you are not home. If you give a contractor permission to inspect your property, watch them conduct the inspection.
  • Request references that include contact information and ask the reference about the contractor’s work schedules, pricing and the quality of the finished product.
  • Read all documents provided by a contractor before signing. If you feel unsure about a contractor, do not sign the contract. If the contractor seems in a hurry to have you sign an agreement and pay the deposit, take additional time to review the scope of the work needing to be performed.
  • Do not give a contractor Power of Attorney over your affairs or permit them to negotiate or settle your insurance claim. Generally, work directly with your insurer on the claim and pay the contractor rather than permitting the contractor to collect from the insurer.
  • Do not pay a contractor the full amount up front, and do not sign a completion certificate until all work is completed as indicated in your contract or written estimate. Always pay contractors by check or credit card so you have a record of all payments issued.

Policyholders who believe they may be a victim of insurance fraud or notice suspicious activity related to their insurance claim are encouraged to contact the LDI Office of Insurance Fraud at 225-342-4956 or online at www.ldi.la.gov/reportfraud.

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 www.ldi.la.gov.