Home Insurance Rates Increase

by Cole Humphreys in Homeowners Insurance at July 30, 2015

An insurance rate hike could be in your future if you own a home in Grand Prairie, Arlington, Mansfield, Irving or Dallas.

The Division of Insurance gave the green light for multiple companies to hike premiums for 2015. But critics believe the public needs more of a voice before rate hikes are granted.

Derm Dangley is a homeowner whose house suffered some ice damage following repeated storms last winter.

“We haven’t had a claim for over 30 years, and I’m sure that’s true of most people in our neighborhood. You buy insurance. When it’s a tough winter, they’re supposed to pay for it. So they get the profits when we don’t have claims and I don’t see why they should complain about a tough winter or two,” he said.

Dangley is not alone. The head of the Senate Post and Oversight Committee said the rate requests were “300% of what a typical request might be.”

Senator said insurance companies might deserve an increase, but his concern is lack of public notice.

Back in the ’70s and ’80s, public hearings over insurance rates were big deals. These rate increases happened without any public participation. We have to depend on the Division of Insurance to be our voice and they have not heard from us.

The Division of Insurance scrutinizes all homeowner’s insurance rate filing changes to ensure they are non-discriminatory, comply with the law, and are adequate to cover claims and losses in order to protect consumers.

Barrett will order hearings on how the rates are set sometime in September.

“The public should have a voice. It’s our money we give to insurance companies to protect us,” Dangley said.

Fullerton said the division has received a total of 39 homeowners insurance rate filings in 2015 out of 76 licensed providers.  Twelve of those were rejected by the division and 27 were placed on file. Fourteen of the 27 placed on file saw no changes in rates.

The 13 companies that filed rate increases were:

Encompass Insurance Co. with a 4 percent increase;

USAA with a 6.3 percent increase;

General Causality Insurance with a 9.2 percent increase;

Green Mountain Insurance with a 9.7 percent increase;

Harleysville Insurance with a 6.4 percent increase;

Norfolk & Dedham with a 5.68 percent increase;

Safeco Insurance with a 5.68 percent increase;

Stillwater Property & Casualty with a 7.8 percent increase;

Mapre Insurance with an 8.9 percent increase;

Bankers Standard with a 6 percent increase;

Plymouth Rock Group with a 7.7 percent increase;

Utica Mutual with a 4.9 percent increase;

Safety Insurance with a 9.1 percent increase.

The good thing is that all insurance companies are monitored closely by the state. If ever the increases were unwarranted, they would have consequences.

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