Rep. Tim Temple (R-Baton Rouge) | homepage
Two Louisiana trade associations have broken with Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) over the race for state insurance commissioner.
The Louisiana Motor Transport Association and the Louisiana Loggers Association have both endorsed the challenger, state Rep. Tim Temple (R-Baton Rouge), in the GOP primary race on Oct. 12. LABI has endorsed incumbent Republican Jim Donelon.
Temple said he decided to challenge Donelon because commercial auto insurance rates continue to escalate. He said that if he is elected to head up the Louisiana Department of Insurance, he can do more than Donelon to stop the rising costs.
One way Temple believes he can make a difference is by trying to bring other commercial insurance companies into Louisiana, he said. Temple has been in the insurance business for 24 years. He is self-financing his campaign.
Toni McAllister, executive director of the Louisiana Loggers Association, said her organization works closely with LABI on many issues and will continue to do so, but her group has its own focus.
“We are our own entity,” she said.
For loggers, commercial auto insurance rates are a front-and-center issue, she said.
“It keeps getting worse, and we are just hoping that a change can do some good,” she said. “Maybe Tim can do something where Donelon has not been able to do anything.”
Professor G. Pearson Cross of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette said the fact that conservative pro-business associations differ on who they support for Insurance Commissioner is understandable.
"The idea that the business community has a unified viewpoint is illusory, because it fails to account for the large variety in businesses in Louisiana and the implications of firm size and focus for viewpoint,” he said.
Cross does not see a lot of difference between the two candidates.
“Both Donelon and Temple are pro-business conservatives,” he said. “Both are campaigning on lowering the cost of insurance generally, including freighting, car insurance and litigation involving transportation.”
Cross says Donelon is well-regarded and has the advantage of being a longtime incumbent.
“LABI is sticking with the incumbent, betting on the likelihood of his reelection. All things considered, that's a fairly safe bet,” Cross said.