Parish President Hotard testifies for Senate Bill 134

Published 12:17 pm Thursday, April 21, 2022

BATON ROUGE — St. John the Baptist Parish President Jaclyn Hotard testified alongside Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon before the Senate Insurance Committee regarding Senate Bill 134, sponsored by State Sen. Talbot. This bill would require insurers to cover evacuation expenses even when a mandatory evacuation order is not issued if the Parish declares an emergency and orders a voluntary evacuation, which St. John Parish did during Hurricane Ida.

Parish President Hotard testified, “Hurricane Ida made landfall within 72 hours of becoming a named storm; therefore, a mandatory evacuation without coordinated contraflow wasn’t safe or feasible. This bill will keep evacuation orders about safety and not insurance policies.”

Commissioner Jim Donelon agreed that the decision by some officials not to order a mandatory evacuation was the right one.

“If they had ordered a mandatory evacuation, everything would have gridlocked, and people would have been stuck in 150 mile per hour killer winds in their cars on highways all over South Louisiana,” Donelon said.

In September, Donelon directed insurers to cover short-term living expenses for some policy holders who evacuated during Hurricane Ida. All but one insurance company followed this directive, and their challenge is still pending in court.