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Insurance Lawsuits Skyrocket in Communities Hit Hard by Extreme Weather Events

Published Oct 19, 2022

Southwest Louisiana is home to the largest volume of civil insurance lawsuits in the country. More than one in five of the nearly 16,000 insurance lawsuits filed in federal court in the first eleven months of FY 2022 were filed in Lake Charles, Louisiana, a comparatively small community in southwest Louisiana devastated by Hurricanes Laura and Delta in 2020.

Figure 1. Total Insurance Lawsuits Filed in Federal Court in FY 2022

Between October 2021 and the end of August 2022, a total of 15,910 insurance lawsuits were filed in federal court, topping the previous year’s 14,310 with one month left to go in the fiscal year. Out of all lawsuits filed in FY 2022, 3,430 (or 22 percent of all cases) were filed at the federal court in Lake Charles alone which sits in the Western District of Louisiana. A total of 4,690 such lawsuits have been filed in all federal courts in the Western District of Louisiana in FY 2022 so far.

Figure 2. Insurance Civil Filings in All Federal Courts (FY 2008-2022)

August 2022 saw the largest number of insurance lawsuits filed in a single month: 4,042 such cases were filed nationwide, driven largely by the 1,643 (40 percent of the total that month) filed in Lake Charles alone. TRAC previously reported on these lawsuits in September 2021, when 774 insurance lawsuits were filed in the Western District of Louisiana—a number that then seemed unusually large. August 2022 exceeded this number considerably by seeing 3.5 times more filings than that previous high.

Figure 3. Civil Insurance Lawsuits Filed in the Western District of Louisiana by Month
TRAC is a nonpartisan, nonprofit data research center affiliated with the Newhouse School of Public Communications and the Whitman School of Management, both at Syracuse University. For more information, to subscribe, or to donate, contact trac@syr.edu or call 315-443-3563.