Georgia insurance companies want to increase premiums

Georgia Homeowners InsuranceThough insurers in Georgia had already increased premiums for homeowners insurance by 9 to 23 percent last year, many are already making requests to obtain permission for another increase.

The largest homeowner policy writer in Georgia, State Farm, is asking for an increase of 7 percent next year. According to state officials, this would be in addition to the 20 percent increase that it already put into place at the beginning of 2010.

Similarly, the homeowner insurer that is the third largest in the state, Travelers Group, has filed its intentions to increase its rates by 18 percent. Its 2010 increases were at the end of the year and consisted of a boost of 10 percent. There is a 22 percent increase sought by Auto Owners Group.

The director of insurance product review from the Georgia Department of Insurance, Steve Manders, stated that a number of storms that occurred in 2008 and 2009 meant that insurers had to make a larger number of claim payments. He said that “most of it is weather-driven.”

Whenever insurance companies want to raise their rates, they must submit their intentions to the state Department of Insurance with detailed statistical information that explains why these changes are justified. The commissioner in Georgia does not have the authority to determine the rate, but the department negotiates depending on what it feels is reasonable.

Spokesperson for State Farm, Justin Tomczak, said that “In 2010 we paid out more than we took in, which has been the trend now for several years.” According to Manders, the majority of insurance companies in Georgia are experiencing the same thing.

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