What can be done to bring more insurance companies to the state and help with market competition?
We have created the Louisiana Insurance Incentive Program that will be started before the end of this year that will provide econimic incentives for companies to increase their writings in Louisiana by 15 percent statewide, with special consideration given to coastal parishes. We also passed legislation to abolish the Louisiana Insurance Rating Comission, a political body that harkens back to the bad old days of Louisiana politics and was the last such body in existence in America. We have supported the creation of and defense of our new statewide building code to make our market more attractive for companies to write new policies.
What can you do to ensure insurance problems that we had during Katrina and Rita do not happen again?
We took extraordinary steps to protect consumers in the months after the two hurricanes, including forcing companies to keep coverage in place with or without the payment of premiums, provide free to the consumer mediation that was used by over 12,000 policyholders to resolve their claims and manned telephone hotlines 12 hours a day seven days a week.
Recently the legislature sent a bill to Gov. Blanco's desk that would have increased the minimum liability insurance drivers must have. Blanco vetoed the bill. Do you believe that was the right idea?
I believe that the minimum liability insurance required for drivers should be increased, phased in over a three year period. While it is true that increasing minimum limits will cost drivers who purchase such policies more, it will also lower the cost of insurance for those who insure themselves beyond minimum limits as the result of other drivers haveing more drivers in place.
What's your view of how best to get health care coverage to the uninsured? Expanding Medicaid, expanding private insurance coverage or something else altogether?