[StBernard] Boasso takes on insurance (The Advocate)

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Tue Aug 7 23:30:11 EDT 2007


Boasso takes on insurance
Advocate Capitol News Bureau
Published: Aug 7, 2007

State Sen. Walter Boasso said Monday that he wants to create a new state
agency to investigate insurance rate increases.

The agency is part of the insurance package that Boasso unveiled in his
bid to become the state's next governor.

The primary election is Oct. 20. Gov. Kathleen Blanco is not seeking a
second term.

Boasso, D-Arabi, also wants to expand a tax credit passed during the
recent legislative session to give homeowners relief on property

His tax credit proposal was scaled down by lawmakers to allow homeowners
to subtract 7 percent of the cost of their property insurance from the
income taxes they will owe the state in 2008.

Boasso's insurance plan calls for raising the credit to up to 78 percent
of the increase in homeowner premiums since the 2005 hurricanes.

"My plan is I've got to give people relief between pre-hurricane and
post-hurricane rates," he said.

Boasso also wants to:

Create an Office of Insurer Conduct to investigate rate increases on
behalf of homeowners. The office would look into allegations of agent or
adjuster misconduct.

Require insurance companies that offer homeowner policies in other
states to write homeowner policies in Louisiana if they want to write
auto policies here.

Create criminal penalties for insurance executives who mislead and
deceive homeowners.

Ban the cancellation of homeowner insurance policies for any reason
other than nonpayment or fraud.

Boasso characterized his insurance plan as an attempt to stop serving
dessert to insurance companies that do not want to share in the main

He said his plan would help businesses as well as homeowners.

"I (have) got to help people stay in Louisiana . If you don't have
business, you don't have jobs," Boasso said.

The Republican Party of Louisiana - which Boasso was a member of before
becoming a Democrat shortly after jumping into the governor's race -
accused Boasso of just pretending to care about Louisiana.

Party chairman Roger Villere Jr. noted that Boasso recently sold his
Chalmette-based company, Boasso America, to a Florida company.

"While this is a windfall for Boasso and his campaign, it is unknown how
it will affect the hundreds of Louisiana residents who are employed by
Boasso's corporation," Villere said in a statement.

Quality Distribution Inc. of Tampa, Fla., announced Friday that it is
buying 100 percent of the stock of Boasso America Corp. for about $60

Boasso said he will maintain an advisory role in the company. He does
not expect his new role to amount to a full-time job.

Boasso America will remain headquartered in Louisiana and employees will
keep their jobs, he said.

Quality Distribution and Boasso America were in talks before the
governor's race began, Boasso said.

"Things happen for certain reasons, I guess," he said. "(Now I have) no
distractions to where I can concentrate and be a full-time governor."

Other candidates include Republican U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal of Kenner,
Republican businessman John Georges of the New Orleans area and Democrat
Foster Campbell of Bossier Parish, a member of the state Public Service

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