Amid a historic crisis in Louisiana’s property insurance marketplace, Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said Tuesday morning that he will not seek re-election to a fifth full term this fall.
The surprise announcement comes as Donelon, a Republican from Metairie, attempts to sort out a near-collapse of Louisiana’s property insurance market. Since 2020’s Hurricane Laura, a dozen insurers writing business in the state have failed, and more than a dozen others have stopped writing business.
The result has been that the number of policyholders covered by Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state’s insurer of last resort, has more than tripled.
In hopes of reducing Citizens’ rolls, Donelon has revived a plan he implemented after Hurricane Katrina to offer state grants to incentivize insurance companies to begin writing business in the state. He was updating the public on that plan when he announced his impending retirement Tuesday.
Donelon said his age and the demands of responding to the insurance crisis in anticipation of the upcoming session were the two factors in his decision not to run.
At 78, Donelon is the longest-serving commissioner to hold the position that has been tainted by scandal; three of his predecessors were convicted and served time in federal prison.
“One thing that did play a factor is a state campaign takes a lot of time, and I haven’t had any time since late last year to put toward my re-election effort,” Donelon said Tuesday.
Donelon said he last held a fundraiser before the holidays in Baton Rouge.
“And since then I haven’t been able to lift a finger toward my re-election campaign because of the time that this crisis has demanded of me and my staff,” he said.
After Gov. John Bel Edwards convened a special session in February, the Legislature agreed — at