Largest Insurer in California – Travelers Announces Home Insurance Rates Going Up 15%

20 May

Travelers Insurance, which is one of the largest insurers in California, recently announced that they will be raising premiums by an average of 15% in the Golden State. This is just the latest rate increase or policy limitation by major insurance companies who blame the increases on spreading wildfire risks, inflation, and the cost of reinsurance. 

Travelers was given approval for the increases by the California Department of Insurance this week. Rates will be updated starting June 24th for over 320,000 homeowners.

According to Nerdwallet, the average of cost of homeowners insurance in the state is $1,250 per year, or $104 per month which is less than the national average which runs about $1,915. The average cost of homeowners coverage in Los Angeles is $1,485 a year, or $124 a month.

Travelers is just the latest major insurer increasing rates in California or limiting new policies being written in the state. As an example, Tokio Marine America Insurance Co. and Trans Pacific Insurance Co. let the insurance department know that they will not be renewing 12,556 homeowners policies starting July 1.

In addition, State Farm, Farmers and Allstate have also limited new policies in California and have also tightened their underwriting requirements. State Farm is not renewing 72,000 policies. Allstate, which stopped writing policies in certain parts of the state claims they will start writing new coverage in the state when insurance reforms that go into effect.

The California Department of Insurance is trying to fix the insurance industry in the state by updating regulations. The update will allow insurers to use algorithms which help predict the future risk from wildfires.

The insurance department wants to let insurers use catastrophe modeling, currently premiums are based on an insurers past losses. 

While the insurance market has shrunk as insurers have left, there are still insurers writing new coverage in the state. Here are just a few insurers still writing coverage in the state:

  • Farmers Insurance Group: Has a monthly cap of 7,000 new business policies and offers limited coverage in California.
  • Mercury: This insurer is actually expanding their footprint in California by not only writing new coverage but is also taking customers from Tokio Marina America who has pulled out of the market.
  • Chubb: This insurance company and its subsidiaries, Federal Insurance Co., Vigilant Insurance Co. and Pacific Indemnity Co., are writing new policies but have put some restrictions in place including not covering high-value homes with high wildfire risk and will not be renewing some high-value homes.
  • USAA: Is writing new policies but its underwriting requirements mean it mainly covers low-risk properties.

Homeowners that have trouble finding a policy in the private market may have to turn to the California FAIR Plan which is the state-established insurer of last resort. 

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