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Allstate asking for increase in homeowner insurance rates

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney says Allstate Property and Casualty Co. will increase homeowner insurance rates 19.4 percent in Mississippi.

Chaney told The Sun Herald newspaper that Allstate was threatening to drop 18,000 policyholders unless he allowed a rate hike of at least 44 percent. He said he “worked diligently to negotiate the requested rate down to a 19.4 percent increase.”

Company spokeswoman Allison Hatcher said no date has been finalized for the increase, though it’s expected to go up in June for new business and renewals.

Chaney and Allstate have been wrangling over the increase since the fall of 2009, when the company initially filed for a rate increase of 65 percent. Chaney rejected that increase, along with a 44 percent statewide rate hike the company requested in March 2009.

Previous Insurance Commissioner George Dale approved a 29.5 percent statewide rate hike for Allstate in 2006, after Hurricane Katrina, with an increase of 90 percent in the three coastal counties. That increase was followed by a 14 percent statewide average increase Chaney approved for Allstate in 2008, with rates for most coast policyholders increasing up to 40 percent.

In late 2009, Chaney said he would no longer consider rate increases from major insurance carriers that were broken down by zone, but only those proposed statewide.

In the latest negotiations, Chaney said, Allstate was threatening to drop 18,000 policyholders unless he allowed a rate hike of at least 44 percent. Through negotiations, Allstate agreed to the lower increase and drop 5,000 Mississippi policies, Chaney said, with no more than 150 of the total dropped in coast counties and only after another.

Hatcher said Allstate will not drop any homeowner customers who also move their auto policies to Allstate. Allstate will offer a 25 percent discount on homeowner policies to customers who also move their auto policies to the company. The previous discount, she said, was 15 percent.

Source: The Sun Herald

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