By Max Dorfman, Investigative Writer, Triple-I
The cost of insured home claims in the United States has risen at a rate that exceeds inflation over the past 20 years, according to the Insurance Research Council (IRC), such as Triple-I, a subsidiary of The Institutes.
A new IRC study, Trends in Homeowners Insurance Claims: 2001–2021He attributes this to a combination of natural catastrophes, man-made disasters, rising home repair costs, and continued population migration to disaster-prone areas.
Insurers also continue to fight insurance fraud and claims abuse after disastrous events. These trends have eroded profits and have led several major insurers to reduce capacity in some US states or exit the homeowners market altogether.
Other findings include:
- Nationwide average cost of loss (average claim payment per insured household) has increased over the past two decades and is up nine percent in 2021.
- The severity of claims is increasing, while the frequency is decreasing, in part due to the widespread adoption of higher deductibles for policyholders, including percentage deductibles for specific perils, and premium surcharge programs designed to reduce the amount of lower cost claims.
- Catastrophic losses play an increasing role due to trends in natural disasters and the methods used to define and categorize catastrophic claims.
- Average costs of loss for claims vary widely by state. The states with the highest loss costs are Louisiana and Mississippi; the states with the lowest are Hawaii and Maine.
- The states with the highest frequency of claims during the period include Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma. The states with the highest severity include California, Alaska, and Florida.
“Over the two decades of the study period, the US homeowners market has experienced increased volatility, primarily driven by a series of disasters, including Hurricanes Katrina, Ike, Michael, Rita, Sandy and Wilma and the California fires,” Dale said. Porfilio, president of IRC and director of insurance for Triple-I.
Porfilio also noted that another challenge facing the homeowners insurance market is the continued threat of insurance fraud and claims abuse, especially after natural disasters.
“Industry and government organizations have increased their efforts to inform consumers of potential scams, investigate and prosecute perpetrators, and enact legislative changes to make systems less vulnerable to abuse,” Porfilio added.
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