I was recently reviewing the home insurance renewals from one of the companies we represent and noticed that over a 3 year period the premium increased 40% and there were no claims for one of our insureds.
This didn’t seem right or fair to our customer.
I started to run some quotes with other insurance companies writing new policies in New Orleans and discovered a much more competitive premium.
I wish it was like 1979 for all my customers.
Buy one homeowners policy from a large insurance company and keep it for life.
No rate increases.
Just auto renew the premiums every year.
But today it is different.
We have over 22 homeowners insurance companies competing in Louisiana for market share.
A majority of the companies have fled Florida because they just can’t compete in a state with even more insurance companies than Louisiana.
Reinsurance costs are low so investors in insurance companies are making money.
Newly created homeowners insurance companies are racing to the bottom with their rates in an attempt to gain market share.
Some companies have not even experienced a hurricane like Katrina much less a hail storm or a windy day.
You have options.
But your insurance agent should have options for you too.
A recent customer in New Orleans was paying over $2900 for his home insurance.
I was able to review the policy and determine there were no claims and quote him with another insurance company wanting to write the risk at a more reasonable premium.
For a 245,000 house, the premium is now $1,745.
That is not a bad premium in New Orleans, an area that has been hit with a few hurricanes and hail storms.
Can you find it cheaper?
But not with a company that has any rate stability or responsible underwriting restraint.
Some questions to ask the agent before you jump on the cheapest quote.
1. How long has the insurance company been writing new policies in our area?
2. Have they paid any claims following a major weather event in our area?
3. Have they taken their first rate increase or are they still operating on their introductory rate filing with the Louisiana department of insurance?
You could ask about the AM Best financial rating, but the majority of the admitted companies are not AM Best rated. They are rated by Demotech, a financial stability rating agency.
So what’s this all about?
No one wants to shop their homeowners insurance every year.
It is no fun calling your mortgage company and making the change.
Can a good insurance agency that is properly staffed make the transition easy for you?
They are out there.
Most of my competitors are sales outfits.
One or two agents with a customer service rep that is not really for customer service but more for routing the sales call to the proper sales agent.
You want to service your homeowners policy after it is sold?
They will call you back in a few weeks.
The current homeowners insurance market is getting crowded and I expect a few more newly formed insurance companies to start writing policies.
Competition is great for all of us.
I own a home too.
I want to pay lower home insurance rates.
As an insurance agent what do I look for in choosing a home insurance company?
I could have gone with the cheapest quote out there but I chose a company for two reasons
- ability to pay claims
- continue operating after a hurricane
If another Katrina hits us and you went with a newly formed insurance company,
you may be left with a non-renewal and no other option except a Louisiana Citizens Fair Plan policy to cover your house.
The Game Plan
Review your current homeowners policy every three years.
If your premium has increased over 30% in 3 years, get some other home insurance quotes to compare.
Ask yourself the three questions previously mentioned above so you are not boarding a sinking ship.
If you want a few quotes to compare with what you have now or maybe you are buying a new house in the New Orleans area, my name is Tim D’Angelo and I would like the opportunity to talk to you about home insurance.
You can call me at 504.348.3131