Louisiana State Capitol building
Louisiana's Republican Insurance Commissioner is facing a challenge from within his party in this fall's primary, and the Louisiana Motor Transport Association has endorsed his opponent.
Republican Tim Temple of Baton Rouge is running to unseat incumbent Commissioner Jim Donelon, citing what he says is Donelon's failure to reduce insurance rates and attract new insurance companies to do business in Louisiana. Donelon has served as insurance commissioner since 2006. Prior to that, he served in the state House of Representatives.
Temple has two decades of experience in insurance and has committed $1 million of his own money to the race, according to the Associated Press. Temple also has earned the endorsement of the Louisiana Motor Transport Association, which represents the state's trucking industry.
"I think what you see with Commissioner Donelon is somebody who views their role primarily as a regulator and more of a bureaucrat," said D. Chance McNeeley, LMTA's executive director. "That position is a statewide elected official, and they have a lot of opportunity to bring about political change, and that's where, in our opinion, Commissioner Donelon has fallen short."
Donelon's campaign counters many of the criticisms levied by Temple and his backers. In June, Donelon announced that two of the state's auto insurers filed plans to reduce rates, while another has dropped rates three times in the past year. Donelon's campaign website also notes that new property insurers have moved into the state in the year's following Hurricanes Rita and Katrina.
However, McNeeley does not believe that Donelon has done enough and thinks it's time for a change at the top.
"We believe that Tim Temple will be a very vocal, active proponent for stabilizing the commercial auto insurance market," McNeeley said."No commissioner can snap their fingers and solve that problem, but they can roll up their sleeves and get in the trenches at the Capitol."