Lawmakers get update on OMV backlogs and learn something new

No matter how long you wait it seems nearly impossible to reach someone at the OMV.
Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 6:17 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - No matter how long you wait, it seems nearly impossible to reach someone at the OMV. The Office of Motor Vehicles last said they were about 60 positions shy of where they need to be to handle the large call volume, even holding a job fair last week.

“My entire staff, we spend day after day after day trying to make it better for the citizens,” said Stacie Hoyt, Deputy Commissioner with the agency.

Since then, the OMV folks say they have been able to hire roughly 15 new people to help with the workload.

“And it’s not something that’s going to be an easy fix because it does take so long to train someone to be able to assist a customer,” added Hoyt.

After hearing from the representatives for a few minutes, the floor was open to the public when one man shared his unique situation. When he went to renew his license here in Louisiana, he was told that his car insurance in Mississippi was not accepted here and that he owed a stiff fine of $500.

“Well, we don’t recognize it, you owe $500. Well, why do I owe $500? You owe $500 for having insurance. Well, I’m having a hard time understanding paying $500 for not having insurance when I just provided a letter from the insurance company and all the information proving I do have insurance,” Dan Estridge explained to the committee.

“I’m sorry about that experience but state law, which is something you can do, is that if it’s not recognized by the state of Louisiana as it coincides with Louisiana insurance, then we can’t accept that,” responded OMV Commissioner Karen St. Germain.

Many on the committee were surprised to hear the man’s story, unaware of the state law. According to the OMV, it is a common misunderstanding.

“The insurance company should have told you since you left the address here, that you were not going to be accepted in Louisiana with that same insurance,” added St. Germain.

“It’s Progressive insurance, it was the only insurance I had since I bought the thing brand new, and it was the same truck, same policy, the only thing was I changed agents,” said Estridge.

The agency said it will continue to try and hire more folks to get the long call times under control but is asking for your patience in the meantime.

As for Estridge, one of the lawmakers on the committee said they are considering carrying a bill this upcoming session to try and change that law to allow folks to have out-of-state insurance here in Louisiana.

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