Conventional wisdom holds that coastal Louisiana homeowners should pay higher home insurance premiums, because they cost insurance companies more money due to storm damage. One Louisiana lawmaker, though, would like the public to see actual numbers.
Data from nearby states reveals coastal homeowner insurance claims are actually less than claims made by inland homeowners. So, Rep. Chris Leopold (R-Belle Chasse) wants Louisiana insurance companies to file their losses and premiums by zip code and parish, as well as their number of policies in each area.
"The idea is to provide data to consumers to help them understand their property insurance premiums and to help determine if a proposed premium is in line," Leopold said, "My bill will require the commissioner of insurance to collect all the data on losses and premiums and post it annually on the Department of Insurance website."
Leopold's HB 909, scheduled for debate in the House Committee on Insurance Wednesday morning, mirrors a law already in effect in Alabama. The bill also requires the insurance commissioner to publish how insurance companies calculate their premiums.
GOV. BENTLEY STILL DOESN'T GET IT
Several HHII members have written to Governor
Bentley complaining about the obvious
discriminatory unfairness in coastal
homeowners' insurance premiums revealed by data
collected through the Clarity Law.
Each writer, even some individuals who had NOT
written, received the same canned response from
the Governor's office (see post below). The
Governor remains beholden to the insurance
industry. All the political rhetoric in this
auto-written letter is window dressing to make
us think something is being done. Nothing
is. And the fundemental issues of
injustice and unfairness are completely
We need a ground swell of complaints on how
Gov. Bentley is running our state not just his state. We need to challenge him on all fronts. He thinks that he has the support of all the people in AL. He has thrown us a bone to chew on and in his way of thinking we should be satisfied. We have gained nothing in his sight as long as he will listen to his advisories and his DOI.
"Thank you for your letter regarding the high cost of homeowners insurance. I appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with me.
Addressing the availability and affordability of homeowners insurance is a long-term priority of mine. The 2012 Legislative Session proved to be a very productive session addressing this issue with the passage of bills such as the Clarity Act. In October 2013, upon the recommendation of the Affordable Homeowners Insurance Commission (AHIC), I announced the creation of the Alabama Center for Insurance Information & Research (ACIIR). This will be an independent, non-profit research center that will examine the challenges facing Alabama homeowners and produce thorough, unbiased research to help homeowners make informed decisions. For more information on insurance rates and Clarity Act data, please visit the Alabama Department of Insurance website and read the Department's
Homeowners insurance reform is a complicated issue. It is my hope that, with continued pursuit of AHIC recommendations and mitigation grants and the future work of the ACIIR, homeowners in Alabama will have additional options to reduce insurance costs.
Again, thank you for taking the time to share your concerns with me, and thank you for your valuable service with the AHIC. If I can be of assistance to you in the future, please feel free to contact my office.
Ever wonder why the cost of wind insurance is so high?
Ever wonder why the cost of wind insurance in Alabama continues to rise, but no one seems to have an answer? It’s an important subject on the coast, where homeowners could benefit from a bit more insight.
The explanation is a complicated one. But a community organization believes they are getting closer to the answer.
Remember when legislators passed that bill called the Property Insurance Clarity Act? The law required insurance companies to submit the dollar amount in premiums collected and claims paid for customers in the state since 2007.
It was released last November, and you can view it online. It’s supposed to give homeowners a better understanding of the insurance process.
After analyzing the insurance data submitted by more than 30 companies, the Homeowners’ Hurricane Insurance Initiative found that the average loss per policy for coastal residents – living in Mobile and Baldwin counties -- was less than the rest of the state combined.
For the past 10 years, the average loss per policy in the coastal counties was $622, but the average loss upstate was $722 per policy, according to their analysis. This would mean that the companies lost more money writing policies upstate than on the coast.
The Alabama Department of Insurance says they’re wrong.
Michelle Kurtz with the Homeowners Hurricane Insurance Initiative told FOX10 News a new law called the Clarity Law has brought transparency to home insurance rates in Alabama and they hope to use the numbers to bring down the high rates in the coastal counties.
The bar chart above shows Mobile and Baldwin counties had LOWER insurance losses than the rest of the state over the past 10 years (red bars on graph). Yet the Alabama Department of Insurance allowed companies to charge us FOUR TIMES MORE than the rest of the state (blue and gold bars). The data includes Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina, Tropical Storm Ida & Mobile's Christmas Day tornados.
DOI IS FEELING THE GROUNDSWELL PRESSURE
As a result of the numerous complaints that the DOI and the Governor’s office are receiving about the implications of the Clarity Act data,
the DOI has decided to publish
this document on their
website explaining the shortcomings of the
Clarity Act data. HHII is
preparing a rebuttal to this document.
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?
Come to one of the meetings listed below to
learn more about the Clarity Law Data
* Call, Email, or write Gov. Bentley (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
Mobile's Lagniappe Magazine weighs in on
You may be blown away by one local advocacy group's interpretation of new data coming out of the state Department of Insurance. According to Homeowners Hurricane Insurance Initiative, property owners in Alabama's coastal counties have been paying more than four times as much for homeowners insurance over the past 10 years while costing the industry significantly less than counties upstate. The data is the result of the state's new Property Insurance Clarity Act, which HHII helped push into law after premiums skyrocketed in the wake of hurricanes Ivan and Katrina. Interestingly, the DOI doesn't exactly refute the data, but says it shows that people elsewhere aren't paying enough for insurance.
Republican State Senator Bill Hightower has passed Senate Joint Resolution 22. SJR22 encourages Gulf Coast counties, the Alabama Department of Insurance and the Governor's Office to explore and consider the formation of an new concept Interstate Re-Insurance Coastal Band. The Coastal Band concept would involve a multi-state agreement, which lowers risk and reduces costs. Hightower is already in discussion with neighboring states regarding this potential solution. Governor Bentley will sign the resolution in the next few days.
HHII DEVELOPING BUSINESS MODEL FOR
COASTAL BAND INSURANCE DISTRICT
has been holding a series of brainstorming
& research sessions to develop
Priniples & Objectives
guiding the legislative creation of the Special
Insurance District "Coastal Band" and its
This is an ongoing collaborative effort on a
working document and all interested parties are
invited to attend. Watch the column at
right for the time and place of the next
Posted 1/28/2014; Link to document added
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
the cited sources. Please report errors and make suggestions to email@example.com