After losing money in five of the last six years, home insurers are raising premiums but offering less coverage for the price as they try to rebuild their profits, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Insured losses exceeded $90 billion in 2020, 2021, and 2022, brokerage Aon reported. The average was $54 billion annually in the 2010s and $43 billion in the 2000s.
“We’re seeing moves to put more of the risk back onto the homeowner, tougher underwriting restrictions, and big rate increases,” Goosehead Insurance’s managing director Lauren Menuey told the WSJ.
California, Florida, and fire-prone western states have felt the brunt—Allstate and State Farm are selling no new homeowner policies in California—but “I don’t think anywhere is safe from this right now,” Menuey said.
Some companies also have halted new property insurance sales in Florida and Louisiana, where hurricanes have done billions of dollars in damage.
Inflation and supply-chain clogs in the construction industry have sent insurance companies’ payouts skyward, along with the growing number of fires, floods, and hurricanes. Many companies are still in the red this year despite imposing hefty premium increases.
Since January 2022, 31 state insurance commissions have approved rate increases. The hikes ranged from 20 to 30 percent in Arizona, Illinois, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Utah, the WSJ noted.
In addition to jacking prices, “we’re managing terms and conditions,” Michael Klein, in charge of personal insurance for The Travelers Co.’s, told an investor’s call. “Think deductibles, think roof age eligibility, think coverage levels on roof replacement.”
The industry will be booking losses until at least 2025, Dale Porfilio, chief insurance officer at the Insurance Information Institute, predicted. “The cycle of continuing to take rates upward is going to continue for the next two years,” he told the WSJ.
Companies “expect catastrophic losses to remain elevated for all the climate-risk reasons that we and scientists and everybody else has talked about,” Porfilio said.
TREND FORECAST: As insurance companies bow out of major markets such as California and Florida, residents and businesses in those states will pressure state governments and federal agencies to insure their property.
Those demands will set off protests by citizens not interested in subsidizing people and companies who choose to remain in dangerous locations.
The inability to find affordable property insurance will spark an entirely new class of climate refugees and households and businesses seek new locales where extreme weather events are less common.
We also note this to illustrate that while there are reports of decreasing inflation, from insurance, car repairs, college tuition, health care, home purchases, apartment rentals… the prices keep rising or even if they retract a bit are far higher than they were, especially before the COVID War.