Advocates Say State Regulations Lead to Higher Insurance Premiums

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  • Over the past several years, many consumers have found themselves fretting about potentially huge increases in the costs they face for the various insurance policies necessary in their lives. While many have blamed insurers themselves for the increases, consumer advocates now say that it might actually be state regulatory controls that drive these spikes. As such, insurance agents might be able to help people understand that the deals they think they may be able to find in the market if they were to shop around might not actually exist.

    When it comes to property and casualty insurance specifically, it seems that Americans paid a total of $478 billion in premiums last year alone, and consumer advocates say that states play far too great a role in those increases, according to a report from the Palm Beach Post. While many consumers are enjoying considerable profits these days for a number of reasons, it seems that states aren’t doing enough to make sure there are appreciable savings being passed along to consumers.

    Industry experts issue a word of caution
    On the other hand, those in the insurance industry itself say that the risk P/C underwriters bear in the market today is still significant, and based on things that cannot be predicted, the report said. For example, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, many companies were in dire straits because of how heavy the damage was, and while there haven’t been any storms in the last year or more reaching that magnitude, companies have to be prepared in case they arise down the road.

    “The point is that profits and profitability in the property-casualty insurance industry are highly volatile – exactly what you’d expect in an industry that bears risk from every catastrophe wherever and whenever they occur,” Bob Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute in New York, told the newspaper. “A profitable insurance industry is a financially strong, stable and sound insurance industry – one that millions of policyholders every year can count on to pay their claim in their time of greatest need.”

    Insurance agents may need to do more to reassure customers of the necessity of the premiums they pay, as many may be turned off by the repeated increases they might have faced in the last few years, especially as a result of living in areas where they are more vulnerable to major storms.