Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Allstate raises Hawaii
home insurance rates

By Lyn Danninger

Effective immediately, new Allstate Insurance Co. homeowners policyholders will pay an average of $51, or 11.9 percent, more per year in premiums.

The carrier raised its rates for new business yesterday, and approximately 26,000 existing policyholders will see an increase beginning Jan. 23, the company said.

Allstate spokesman, Scott Richardson said the increases -- the first in eight years -- are due to rising costs associated with settling claims.

"It's more a matter of costs, such as materials and labor, going up," Richardson said.

Richardson said the premium increases are based solely on the costs associated with paying Hawaii claims.

"The change in price is based on what it costs to pay the claims in Hawaii. It's not influenced by anything occurring on the mainland," he said.

Home repair cost inflation had held fairly steady at around 6 percent for several years. But now that number has risen to 7.2 percent, Richardson said.

Allstate homeowners policy increases will not affect hurricane coverage, which is provided through Zephyr Insurance Co., he said.

The state Insurance Division, which regulates insurance rates, approved the increase. Earlier this year, several other insurers who do business locally -- including State Farm and Liberty Mutual -- raised premium rates.

Like Allstate, State Farm experienced a jump in the cost of paying claims, said company spokeswoman Carolyn Fujioka. The company had stopped writing new policies, but has since begun to insure renters, condominium owners a limited number of new homeowners, she said.

"We were growing too fast and the expenses associated with new policies, an increase in claims and claims costs, and decreased investment income all combined to restrict new business," she said.

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