High Home Insurance Costs: Finally, the media is picking up on this urgent issue! Somervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


 

High Home Insurance Costs: Finally, the media is picking up on this urgent issue!
 


20 December 2007 at 1:40:58 PM
pstern

Texas maintains the highest cost in nation!

What does it take to undo what has been done in the name of profiteering?

So, all of a sudden some of the media is recognizing that Texans are OVERPAYING on their home insurance? What a joke!

During the past 4 years I guess no one wanted to hear and believe it from me that Texans pay the highest home insurance premiums in the nation and that our officials were only patronizing homeowners and playing sleight of hand with legislative bills that don't help.

Now it's being printed as a new awareness?

All I can say is shame on our elected officials and the media for letting them get away with this.

Also, shame on Texas voters for not registering and voting in droves against the current leadership and special interests ruling Texas!

Please note the 2 articles below and make it your 1st New Year's Resolution in January to contact officials to deal with this issue!!!

P

Homeowners premiums remained high after reform, study says

 
AUSTIN — Texas homeowners insurance premiums stabilized some after legislative reforms in 2003, but were still the highest in the United States, according to a new study.

The average annual premium in Texas for the most common homeowner policy was $1,372 in 2005, while the national average was $764, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Premiums in Texas have always been relatively expensive because of severe weather conditions such as hurricanes, hailstorms and tornadoes. Rates went up in the early part of the decade as insurers fielded a rash of mold claims. The Legislature responded in 2003 with reforms that promised to bring relief to homeowners.

As of 2005, Louisiana had the second-highest premiums at $1,144, and Florida was third at $1,083. The premiums in all other states were less than $1,000.

The study found that Texas premiums increased slower than the national average in the two years after the 2003 reform. The state saw increases of 0.7 percent in 2005 and 2.6 percent in 2004. Nationally, rates increased 4.8 percent in 2005 and 9.1 percent in 2004.

"Texas is number one and will continue to be number one as long as we have the type of weather we have now, which is very severe," said Jerry Johns, president of Southwestern Insurance Information Service. "Companies have to have money to pay claims, which can run into billions of dollars annually."

Alex Winslow, of the consumer group Texas Watch, said the study confirms that most homeowners have experienced rising insurance premiums despite the reforms.

"We have a couple of years of post-reform experience in Texas, and they show we're heading in the wrong direction on insurance rates," Winslow said.

"Our closest neighbor, Louisiana, doesn't even come close to Texas premiums, particularly after a year in which Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans. Florida is a riskier state for the insurance industry than Texas, but that is not reflected in this comparison."

Mark Hanna, spokesman for the Insurance Council of Texas, said numbers from 2006 and 2007 will show that insurance rates have gone down for Texas homeowners, except for in Harris County and counties along the Gulf Coast.

"Our rates have been dropping since 2004," Hanna said. "Texas Department of Insurance quarterly reports show that, and Texas insurance agents in the field will show you that."

Winslow said the study provides more evidence that the insurance commissioner "needs to approve all rates before they go into effect."

Johns said adding that restraint on insurers would be counterproductive.

"This is not yet a competitive state for homeowners insurance," Johns said. "We're not seeing a lot more companies coming into Texas, and the companies that currently are here are not enthusiastic about expanding their business."

A spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry defended the 2003 reforms and noted that the study doesn't include 2006 and 2007 figures.

"The governor believes that the reforms took great steps in making sure that homeowner rates are kept low and that homeowners have the ability to choose the type of coverage they desire," spokeswoman Krista Piferrer said.

___

Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com

December 19, 2007 - 3:57 a.m.

CSTCopyright 2007, The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP Online news report may not be published, broadcast or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

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Note:  The above article just mentions high costs, NOT doubled costs, or highest in the nation costs!!!


The following was recently printed in the Wilson County News and is one of many articles during the past 4 years I wrote on home insurance:


Time to rein in home insurance costs


We need to ask ourselves, “Why?”

Three years ago with Gov. Rick Perry, then-Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Commissioner Jose Montemayor, and legislators “looking the other way,” lax insurance legislation permitted the industry to double the premiums paid by Texas homeowners.

At that time and during the previous several years, the insurance industry had been experiencing a “hard market” and was losing revenue; we were told it was due to excessive claims due to storms, winds, flooding, hail, and mold. It had called upon the state informally to help with correcting the market, but few listened to industry pleas.

As in many previous years of “hard markets,” the insurance industry elected to act on the problem without waiting any longer for government interaction on its behalf. Virtually overnight, it then “over-corrected” the market by doubling home insurance premiums.

In some instances, the industry decreased the coverage and still increased the premiums significantly.

The reaction of homeowners was disbelief and then anger. They contacted the offices of the governor, TDI, and various legislators. They were told publicly by Perry and Montemayor that by the next year, the insurance industry would refund up to 14 percent of the increased
premiums.

To date, that has never occurred.

The governor and state officials continue to permit the insurance industry in Texas to maintain the highest home insurance premiums anywhere else in the nation.

Currently, we are nearing the end of the second business quarter of year 2007 and are in a “softer market.” The industry has been reaping substantial profits for the past several years and is still. Despite high revenues, there is no sign of legislators providing more oversight and/or regulation on the insurance market, nor is the industry on its own considering lowering the premiums of home insurance to a more reasonable amount.

Periodically and when public opinion and discontent require it, Perry gives the issue some lip service and leaves it up to the Legislature to consider, but no one seriously acts on behalf of overburdened Texas homeowners. With ever-increasing property values and taxes, home insurance is a close second as the cause of the record number of foreclosure throughout the state.

Apparently, unless Texans pound on the gubernatorial and legislative doors, communicating via phone and letters that home insurance relief is needed now, no one will do anything about it and Texas homeowners will continue to pay the highest premium costs anywhere in the nation. We can’t depend on the governor, legislators, current TDI Commissioner Mike Geeslin, or the insurance industry to offer homeowners relief. To them, the sweet smell of profits overrides the stench of decay from the “American Dream” becoming a nightmare for most of us.

We either can remain the docile sheep officials want us to be, or we can move on correcting this unacceptable series of insurance events.


Contacts:

•Gov. Rick Perry:  http://www.governor.state.tx.us/contact


•Lt. Gov. Dewhurst:  http://www.ltgov.state.tx.us/Contact/?PHPSESSID=5b095f20d41bd4a2678f462a5bd16830


•Texas Senators:  http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/Members.htm


•House of Reps:  http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/welcome.php


•TDI Commissioner Mike Geeslin:  mike.geeslin@tdi.state.tx.us

Peter Stern lives in Driftwood, Texas.

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