Homeowner’s insurance in South Carolina is expected to rise as the state’s insurers prepare for a busy hurricane season. There is no way to tell whether the 18 hurricanes predicted to form this season will actually reach land, but insurers aren’t taking any chances.
Natural disasters in the Southern U.S. have already wrought a terrible toll on the industry, and the year is only half over. Many of the state’s property insurers are now proposing rate increases to help mitigate the cost of potential damage from this year’s hurricanes.
The South Carolina Wind and Hail Underwriting Association – one of the few insurers in the state to offer wind and hail protection for coastal properties – is raising rates by 9.8%. “We had actually asked for more – 18%,” says executive director, Smitty Harrison. The wind pool, as it is called, is the last resort for many homeowners with beachfront property, enabling them to obtain coverage that would be impossible to find otherwise.
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State Farm will be raising their rates in other parts of the state as well. However, the rates for homes in areas close to the ocean will remain unaffected.
Rising rates have been met with the ire of residents, many of whom are still reeling from 2008’s recession. David Black, director of the state’s Department of Insurance, does not take the issue lightly.
“It’s a hard decision to give a rate increase,” says Black. “It’s the hardest thing you can do.”