Report: Ohio Auto Insurance Prices Continued Rise in 2012

Ohio officials are taking notice of a trend for the state’s motorists: the average driver is paying more each year for auto insurance than the year before it.

Figures released this week from the Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI) shows that the average rate among the state’s top 10 car insurers—which together account for 74 percent of the market—jumped 4.1 percent between 2011 and 2012.

The 4.1 percent hike continues annual increases going back to 2008, meaning prices for most of the state’s auto insurance market have been rising every year for the past five years.

“Ohio hasn’t experienced this high of a percentage uptick in over a decade,” Mary Bonelli, spokeswoman for the Ohio Insurance Institute (OII), told Online Auto Insurance News.

Between 2008 and 2012, rates at the top 10 companies have collectively risen by about 10 percent overall.

Nine of the top 10 providers of car insurance in Ohio, representing more than 1 out of every 7 premium dollars in the state’s auto coverage market, saw an overall price hike last year.

State Farm, the state’s largest auto insurer, was the only one seeing an overall price decrease, dropping by 0.4 percent.

Zurich Insurance Group—which includes insurers like Farmers—showed an overall increase of 26.3 percent, the biggest yearly increase of the top 10 car insurers.

Bonelli said that Ohio’s average auto premium is still lower than it was a decade ago and still sits well below the national average.

Based on 2010 figures, the last year in which the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has finalized figures on how much driver spend on coverage, Ohio showed the ninth-lowest auto insurance expenditure of $619; it was far below the nationwide average of $791.

Ohio still trails the nationwide average when combining expenditure estimates from the OII and the Insurance Information Institute (III).

Regulators Link Rates to Med and Repair Costs, Weather Claims

According to the ODI, auto coverage rates are linked to “medical costs, weather-related claims, the number of cars on Ohio roads and repair costs.”

The state has dealt with a “higher frequency and severity” of severe weather in recent years, Bonelli told OAIN in April, when the state institute reported that 2012 was a record year in insured losses.

In 2012, Ohio was struck by “derecho” storms that brought high winds and heavy rains and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in auto claim losses.

Bonelli said that, last month, derecho conditions returned to bring a “catastrophe-level storm” to Ohio. Preliminary estimates peg insured losses between $72 million to $85 million from that storm, though no auto claims breakdown was available.

She added, however, that it was the only catastrophic storm in Ohio in 2013, which bodes well for the state.

“So far, so good,” she told OAIN.

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for Patch.com and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

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