Louisiana, Miss. among highest homeowner rates

Published 11:26 pm Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Louisiana homeowners paid the third-highest home insurance rates in 2006, while Mississippi was hit with the sixth-highest average bill for coverage, according to a report by a national group of state insurance regulators.

Although the report is the first since hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck in 2005, leaving behind billions of dollars in property damage, one regulator said the full effect of storm-related rate increases would not be shown until next year’s report by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Still, by national comparisons, homeowners were forking out plenty in 2006 to obtain coverage. Louisiana’s average bill was $1,257 — exceeded only by Texas and Florida — while Mississippi owners paid an average of $998 for a year’s worth of coverage.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

From 2005 to 2006, Louisiana homeowners saw an average rate hike of 9.9 percent, while rates in Mississippi jumped an average of 6.3 percent.

Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said that the big rate increases that occurred in 2006 after hurricanes Katrina and Rita would not be reflected until the 2007 report. He said that increase will be about 12.5 percent, followed by 3.5 percent in 2007 and around 1 percent in 2008.

Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney said his state, over the past few years, has dropped from the fourth highest average rate. “The trend has been down and has continued through 2007 and 2008,” he said.

To keep rates down, the state is concentrating on hurricane-vulnerable coastal areas through wind-resistant construction, enforcement of building codes and discouraging the rebuilding of homes in flood plains, Chaney said.

Nationwide, the average homeowner’s policy cost $804 in 2006, a 5.2 percent increase from 2005, according to NAIG.

Texas customers paid the highest average rate in 2006 at $1,409 — a 2.7 percent increase from 2005 — while Florida’s average bill was $1,386, following a whopping 28 percent increase.

Wisconsin had the lowest 2006 average rate at $490, following a 1 percent decrease. Other states experiencing average decreases were Hawaii, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wyoming.