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Thursday, March 2, 2000

State Farm reduces
home rates

By Peter Wagner
Star-Bulletin staff


State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. plans to drop homeowners insurance rates in Hawaii an average 4.9 percent, citing a downtrend in claims and the lower company costs.

The rate decrease, the third by State Farm in three years, takes effect April 1 for new customers and June 1 for existing policy holders.

Company spokeswoman Carolyn Fujioka said homeowners have been filing fewer claims in recent years, resulting in lower costs to the company. She also noted State Farm's move out of the state's Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund last year to offer its own hurricane coverage.

Meanwhile, State Farm yesterday announced an average 15 percent rate increase for condominium unit owners and renters, reflecting an upsurge of claims in those categories. The hike takes effect April 1 for new customers and June 1 for existing accounts.

Fujioka said State Farm covers 37,500 homes and 9,600 condos in Hawaii.

State Farm lowered homeowners rates an average of 13.2 percent in 1998 and 15 percent to 25 percent last year. Other insurance companies also have lowered their Hawaii rates in recent years. Fujioka said the declining rates reflect not only declining claims but also increasing competition in the industry, gradually recovering from the heavy cost of Hurricane Iniki in 1992. State Farm, the largest home insurer in Hawaii, has 17.5 percent of the market, she said.

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