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Insurance premium hikes highest in Mississippi
From SUN HERALD July 29, 2014
Average annual home insurance premiums in Mississippi increased 15.5% during the second quarter of 2014 - the largest hike of any of
the 25 states that experienced increases, according to the HomeownersInsurance.com Premium Report.
The average premium climbed to $1,170 a year. Premiums are compared only for companies listed with HomeownersInsurance.com, Those companies represent only a small percentage of the property insurance market in Mississippi. For example, major insurers such as State Farm, Nationwide and Allstate are not included in the survey.
The survey found that, nationally, premiums rose to $829 during the quarter, about 2.1% higher than in the first three months of the year. But Mississippi was the only state where the percentage increase hit double digits. The state faces hurricanes and flooding in the southern half and tornadoes in the north.
"Because of all the factors that go into setting home insurance premiums, it's always difficult to pinpoint the reasons for fluctuations," says Jana Bell, Vice President of HomeInsurance.com -- the parent company of HomeownersInsurance.com. "But policyholders in all states should consider ways to reduce how much they pay for coverage without diluting it."
In 2013, Mississippi ranked number 6 in the state for estimated insured catastrophic losses in the United States -- likely one of the biggest reasons for the premium increase.
The largest percentage decrease in premiums, according to the Premium Report, came in Montana, where policyholders paid annual average premiums of $690 during the period
Other states, other rates
The state with the largest average 12-month premium for the quarter was Oklahoma, where homeowners paid $1,597. The lowest average annual premiums were found in Oregon - about $431.
HomeownersInsurance.com offers comparative rates in 44 states on home and auto insurance from carriers such as Travelers, The Hartford, Safeco Insurance, Progressive, MetLife, Liberty Mutual, ASI, and Foremost.
Michelle is featured on a
Time Money webpage. Even though Michelle explained over and over how the work of HHII is carried out by hundreds of adult volunteers, they would not let her submit a group photo. YOU all are the HEROES!!
'Clarity Acts' could reveal reasons for high home insurance rates in your state
Homeowners Premiums Gouge Coastal Alabama
Mobile & Baldwin County pay 300% to 600% More!
The Alabama Clarity Law Data; the Alabama Department of Insurance (DOI) White Paper; and the Homeowners Hurricane Insurance Initiative (HHII) Response
In a 2010 interview with Mobile Press Register reporter Jeff Amy, Governor Robert Bentley publicly supported the Clarity Bill. Governor Bentley promptly signed the bill into law when Sen. Trip Pittman and Representative Joe Faust with coastal legislators got it passed in 2012. The Clarity Law required the Alabama Department of Insurance to collect, aggregate, and
publish total insurance premiums and losses by zip codes. As a consequence a tremendous amount of statewide premiums and claims information came online at the DOI website Thanksgiving eve 2013.
• The data shows Mobile and Baldwin counties had a ten year average of $622 in losses per policy in comparison to $722 for the rest of the state.
• It includes data from Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina, Tropical Storm Ida and Mobile’s Christmas Day tornadoes. It clearly demonstrated that coastal losses are not 4 times higher, (range 300% to 600%) than the rest of the state.
• The data also showed that the coastal counties paid for the losses caused by hurricanes Ivan and Katrina in the years before the storms, at the old premiums.
Though the vast amount of historical Clarity Law data cannot be used for ratemaking purposes by itself (additional calculations are needful), it serves as a sobering reality check, clearly demonstrating that cost of risk is not properly distributed, and that DOI methods need dramatic recalibration.
In the wake of releasing the data, however, the DOI issued a White Paper that cites six “Challenges with Drawing Conclusions from The Clarity Act Data.”
The following is a synopsis of DOI concerns,
and the HHII response.
1)The DOI concluded that even with the 400 percent increases in premiums, coastal counties are paying too little for insurance.
HHII disagrees and asked DOI to prove this statement because the data reveals that losses caused by Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina, plus the cost of doing business, plus profits were paid for in the years leading up to the storms at the old premiums. This, alone, refutes the DOI conclusion that a 300% to 600% premium increase was necessary.
2) The DOI pointed out that Clarity Law data double-counts some policies causing a 10% error.
3) The DOI said that the 2011 Tuscaloosa tornado losses should be dismissed from the data and hurricane losses retained when comparing coastal counties with the rest of the state.
4) The DOI said the data does not include information from surplus lines, non-typical insurance providers.
5) The DOI said data is missing because some companies went out of businesses.
6) The DOI said some families have dropped their wind coverage since insurance prices quadrupled. Any losses they suffered since dropping coverage were not reported.
If all above DOI objections are granted then the Coastal Counties cost estimated by HHII would be $930. Far from the 300% to $600 the DOI has dictated for Mobile and Baldwin County. Of course granting all objections are not valid so…
With reasonable adjustments made for all DOI concerns, the average coastal loss per policy is $777, the rest of the state is $722. Coastal losses are 8% higher -- that is, statistically even with the rest of the state. They are nowhere near 400% higher as allowed by the DOI.
This factual, historical data is very significant.
It captures all the premiums, all the claims, all the policies from all the admitted insurance companies in all the state’s zip codes from years 2007 – 2012. The Clarity Law data includes Alabama Insurance Underwriters Association (the state “Wind Pool”) during the years of Hurricane’s Ivan and Katrina.
In contrast, the prior administration and former insurance commissioner made their 2006 decisions to dramatically change the way coastal counties are treated without this vast data pool. As each company sought changes, the DOI relied on one company’s data from five years, supplied by territories, not zip code, augmented by EXPERIMENTAL hurricane catastrophe models which, themselves, contained minimal upstate hurricane information, no tornado, hail or straight-line wind data at all, and no zip-code data from non-hurricane years. The DOI also did not have information from surplus lines.
The Clarity Law data is vastly superior to the data available when the former insurance commissioner changed the way coastal Alabama would be treated.
It overwhelmingly demonstrates that coastal counties’ losses do not justify charging coastal Alabama 4 times more than the rest of the state.
Alabama law requires that the DOI prohibit inadequate and excessive premiums. The law also requires that the DOI prohibit discrimination. The data overwhelmingly suggests that coastal premiums are excessive and discriminatory.
Though the Clarity Law data cannot, and was never intended to, be used for ratemaking purposes by itself (a few additional calculations are necessary), it clearly demonstrates that cost of risk is not properly distributed, and that DOI methods need dramatic recalibration.
here to read DOI White Paper & HHII rebuttal on
interpreting Clarity Law data
SEND YOUR LETTERS TO GOVERNOR BENTLEY
HHII and Uncle Henry have been encouraging you to send your
letters to Governor Bentley.
Here's how to get your sample template. Click on the
applicable letter and, when the dialog box appears appears,
choose save file to your home computer. If you do not have MS Word,
click on the adjacent pdf icon
and print out a copy.
NOAA PLANS TO USE DRONES TO TRACK
The NOAA plans to release as many as five drones called Coyotes this summer to venture into the turbulant low level core of hurricanes to better predict the storm's intensity.
Read the complete 6/10/2014 WSJ article
April 28 storms 4th-largest in North Alabama history
Read May 24, 2014,
article by Ben Benton in Chattanooga Times Free Press
The monetary damage was low because it hit in rural areas. But it puts the lie to
AL DOI's Charlie Angel's insistence that the 2011 Tuscaloosa tornado outbreak
was a 1-in-250 year event. An extreme tornado outbreak --
maybe not as strong as 2011, but still extreme and rated fourth largest in
area history -- happened only three years after the 2011 outbreak.
DOI IS FEELING THE GROUNDSWELL PRESSURE
The Homeowners Hurricane Insurance Initiative
is the only citizens' group working for fairness in coastal Alabama regarding insurance premiums.
What can YOU do to help?
* Call, Email, or write Gov. Bentley (email@example.com) and your state Senator and Representative and let them know that you want the Alabama Department of Insurance (DOI)
to follow the laws that require fair premiums statewide. Click
here for a guide to writing to the
Governor's office and more talking points..
* Print out this
flier and give it to your friends and
* If you receive HHII's email 'GOUGED! Hurricanes Don't Justify our High Coastal Premiums!', forward it to as many coastal Alabama people you know.
HOW YOUR DONATIONS TO HHII ARE HELPING
Various leaders in the group who have the time have made trips to
Louisiana, Mississippi and the Florida panhandle. They've made
excellent progress building a multi state coastal grassroots network.
State Rep. Joe Faust has partnered with this initiatve and has made a significant
difference opening doors in every direction. His letterhead, calls from his office
and his occasional trips to these other states have added significantly to the "gravitas."
The work in these neighboring states has served as a prototype for the work to be done
in the rest of the coastal band -- running from Mexico to Maine. The attached
gives a sense of the cost of this prototype activity. Using their experiences, the various
people who gather to brainstorm next steps have developed a three-phase plan that brings
the grassroots in all 17 Gulf and Atlantic coastal states into a giant network that requires
officials to fix the coastal insurance crisis. Their plan hires ten people like Michelle Kurtz.
They will network the coastline in a year.
It will cost about $700,000, and the HHII steering board is working on that. They plan three phases.
The first costs about $15,000 (plus about $10,000 for the former head of the Texas Department
of Insurance to research some more specific dollar figures). The second costs about $60,000.
Both phases will be evaluated to determine whether to proceed. The third requires the rest of the
$700,000 in a lump sum. The steering committee members are looking to foundations and other sources that
can offer substantial portions of that needed amount. This board has gathered an impressive
list of signatories who will endorse a funding request made to foundations.
You can help if you know people at foundations and can open doors with them.
The "Business Plan"
A dedicated group of Alabama HHII participants are gathering and fleshing out the details of ideas for how
a special coastal catastrophic insurance district running along the coast from Mexico to Maine
should be designed and managed to best suit the consumer/family/communty.
That conversation is in the early stages. There are currently 5 ideas that are being built out.
The rule right now is to talk about all ideas, collect them on a grid, flesh them out, and
decide later which ones are best. It makes for fun conversation if anyone wants to join the
"brains" as they proceed. It's getting interesting, too, because brains from other states
will soon be joining the process.
to read a summary of the status of the discussions.
Call EMI (Dan Hanson) at 251-928-3430 if you want to get into the design conversaton.
HHII WELCOMES SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
HHII can fully inform your community or fraternal organization,
or church group, small or large, about what is happening with
homeowners' insurance. The presentation can be as short as
ten minutes or as long and in depth as you would like.
Call 251-928-3430 if you know of any who would be interested.
DON'T DROP YOUR FIRE & THEFT INSURANCE!
HHII has heard reports of homeowners who have dropped
insurance coverage because of unaffordable premiums. HHII urges
homeowners to maintain mult-peril (fire & theft) coverage even if they
can no longer afford wind coverage.
This toolkit includes links to detailed information to help answer questions about the changes coming to the NFIP.
ACT-II was developed by Baldwin County pastors in conjunction
with Ecumenical Ministries, Inc. Together we work on a wide variety of
problems in both poor and affluent communities around the county. Our
mission is to develop leaders and empower people to take democratic
action to improve the quality of life in our communities using our
dialogue to action church-based model and principles.
History of ACT-II.
This site is maintained for HHII by Colin Keleher, who is solely
responsible for its content. In general, posts with upper case headings
originate with HHII; posts with lower case headings are aggregated from
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