State Farm agents monitor rate hike plan

Published 6:00 am Monday, December 23, 2002

A local State Farm agent said he doesn’t have much moreinformation about the proposed 42.5 percent statewide homeownersinsurance rate hike than the public.

“The first time we heard about a 42.5 percent rate hike wasthrough the media,” said State Farm Agent Bobby Britt. “State Farmhas not shared any of the statistics with us.”

The insurance company is in the process of negotiating the ratehike with Insurance Commissioner George Dale and his office.

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“I’m told the same thing you are told – that the rate isn’tadequate,” Britt said, adding that an agent never likes to see arate increase.

The 42.5 percent rate is an average of rate increases across thestate. Hardest hit in the proposal is the coast, which would see anincrease of 79 percent under the plan.

Lincoln, Lawrence, Copiah, Simpson, Jefferson Davis andCovington Counties comprise an area that see a proposed increase of22 percent, one of the lowest proposed increases in the state.

Britt said he had not been told of the possible rate hike orwhat that would increase would be, but he had seen those samepercentages in the media.

“(The lower increase) would indicate to me we are more rateadequate in this area than in other areas of the state,” Brittsaid. “And apparently, we have not experienced the losses of otherareas. The two things combined, I would assume, make us more rateadequate in this area.”

Britt’s office is receiving a lot of calls from residents, hesaid. Most have not been verbally upset, but have been concerned,he added.

The problem, Britt said, is that State Farm is losing money onhomeowners insurance in Mississippi.

“Statistics seem to indicate we’re not adequate on our rates.The claims paid out are exceeding the premiums,” he said. “Thereprobably does need to be an increase in premiums.”

State Farm is not alone in requesting rate hikes, Britt said,pointing out it is an industry-wide problem and the company is notthe first to request a rate hike.

“This problem exists, industry-wide, in at least severalstates,” he said. “Allstate and Farm Bureau recently received ratehikes.”

The two insurance companies were not approved for the increasethey requested, but were granted an increase in rates, Brittsaid.

“I expect that will be the case here,” he said.

State Farm Agent Alex Brabham Jr. declined comment, insteadreferring all questions to the State Farm Field Office inJackson.