States Dig Into Homeowners Insurance and Why It’s Hard to Buy
3 mins read

States Dig Into Homeowners Insurance and Why It’s Hard to Buy

State regulators across the country on Friday asked hundreds of insurance companies to provide details on how they price and structure their homeowners policies, part of an effort to address why many property owners struggle to get and maintain coverage. Why are you doing it?

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the group that represents regulators, said state agencies have written to more than 400 companies asking for detailed data on their homeowners insurance businesses. The companies' responses are due in early June, and they must comply or risk fines.

The association's president, Andrew N. Mace, who is Connecticut's insurance commissioner, said a statement The group's website was requested to “address the critical challenge of affordability and availability of homeowners insurance and the financial health of insurance companies.”

Climate change-driven inflation and increasingly severe weather have recently impacted many local markets for homeowners insurance. Some major insurance companies have pulled out of states including Florida and California. In those places, and in other places hard hit by destructive events like hurricanes and wildfires, some homeowners have cut their coverage to deal with rising insurance costs.

“The greatest need right now is to help communities adapt to climate-related risks and ensure they are adequately insured against events that could not be prevented,” said Mark Friedlander, spokesman for Insurance, an insurance industry trade group. May go.” Information Institute.

Some of the data will be shared with the Treasury Department's Federal Insurance Office, which is looking at the effects of climate change on the insurance industry. Mr. Friedlander said this could help the federal government create policies to protect property owners in high-risk areas of the country.

The request is the most comprehensive response yet from state insurance regulators to major changes in the homeowners insurance markets. Each company is being asked to provide specific information about the type of coverage it offers in different ZIP codes and its recent history of paying claims in those areas. Insurers must share information about the size of their customers' deductibles and discount opportunities customers can receive when they fix or upgrade parts of their homes.

According to the announcement Friday, regulators hope to be able to use the data to build a clear and detailed picture of the plans of about 80 percent of all homeowners, as measured by total insurance premiums.

The Consumer Federation of America, the Center for Economic Justice and Public Citizen, three groups focused on helping consumers get affordable insurance coverage, said in a joint statement Friday that the move was long overdue.

“Unlike other financial services regulators, state insurance regulators have for decades refused to collect the detailed information on auto and home insurance that is needed to evaluate the market for consumers,” the statement said.

Consumer groups also said that because regulators only sought data on insurers' plans for individual homeowners, they risk missing some important information from policies issued to condo and cooperative associations and affordable housing developers.

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