Insurers Hiking Rates in Calif., More Ask for 2013 Increases

A group of California car insurers has recently asked state regulators to allow them to raise rates on policyholders in the next few months, while approved rate increases for a handful of other insurers have already been taking effect over the past month and a half.

At the beginning of October, Alliance United raised rates on more than 114,000 of its policyholders by an average of 3.22 percent. The increase will cost the average policyholder a mere $14.50 extra per year, but the change will bring the company an extra $1.66 million in premiums.

While that increase is relatively modest, new and renewing policyholders at Unigard are set to see premiums spike by 7 percent. About 11,350 of the company’s policyholders will be affected by the change, and it will end up costing them an average of $94 extra per year. The change went into effect at the end of September.

Another significant change hitting about 8,500 consumers at the end of September was Loya Casualty‘s 6.9 percent rate hike, which will end up costing the average policyholder an extra $82 a year.

Mercury Insurance, which is among the top 10 largest insurers in the state, began bumping up premiums by about 4.3 percent after being approved to do so in early September. The rate filing documents do not say how many policyholders are affected by the change. The insurer had asked for a 6 percent increase, but regulators approved only the 4.3 percent hike.

At Transguard, around 67,600 car insurance policyholders will be affected by the 6.9 percent hike that went into effect last month. The increase will cost the average policyholder an additional $10.52 for an annual policy.

Finally, Companion Property and Casualty is raising rates for physical damage coverage by 6.1 percent. The 145,000 policyholders that the change will affect will only see small individual increases; the average per-policyholder increase is $4.85 a year.

Other Insurers’ New Requests Pending

Rates may be going up in the near future for thousands of other policyholders if rate filing requests received by regulators over the past two months are approved.

Progressive West is seeking to hike its overall insurance rates by 6.9 percent, which would be effective at the beginning of 2013.

Several other coverage providers followed Progressive in asking for rate increases of 6.9 percent.

American States Preferred asked for a 6.9 percent hike, its first rate change request since January 2010, when the insurer asked for a 4.7 percent increase. The latest request would mean a $149 average increase for the 16,660 policyholders that would be affected at the beginning of the new year.

Electric also asked for a 6.9 percent rate increase. Its increase would mean an almost $107 average hike for 2,186 policyholders.

First National and Safeco, both offshoots of large-scale insurer Liberty Mutual, asked for 6.9 percent hikes within the same filing. Both requests would amount to a $119 average increase per policyholder. If approved, the change would also take place at the beginning of the new year.

MAPFRE asked for a relatively low rate increase of almost 1.7 percent overall that would be effective in early December. The request would mean an almost $24 average increase for 1,450 policyholders.

Companion Property & Casualty requested one of the higher rate hikes in its rate filing with a 19 percent overall impact on the insurer’s rates. The change would affect more than 50,000 policyholders and amount to a $174 average increase per policyholder, according to the filing. The new insurance rates would become effective in January 2013.

About John Pirro
John Pirro is a licensed fire and casualty insurance agent specializing in various aspects of the auto insurance industry. He worked in the auto body repair industry before taking a reporting position at Online Auto Insurance News.

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