State Farm, the biggest auto insurance provider in Florida, has reported an average auto insurance rate increase of 9.2% which includes 2.7 million clients in the state.
Chris Neal, State Farm spokesman, explains that the trend of spiking rates excludes their company since they have reduced their rates for several years in a row. He admits that there has been an increase in the filing of auto claims. State Farm controls 20% of the state auto insurance market.
In January, Allstate Fire and Casualty clients had to deal with a 16% rake hike. On average, their customers deal with an $82 increase every six months as party of the company policy. Allstate covers 1.7 million vehicles in Florida.
Insurance Information Institute representative Lynn McChristian said that the recession may have played a major part in the rising costs. She said that less and less people are purchasing insurance while others buy insurance which is lesser than what they need, thus, other drivers have to compensate for the situation by buying costlier premiums.
The institute tagged Florida as the fifth most expensive state for automobile insurance. Average expenditures in 2007 was pegged at $1,043.
The Insurance Research Council in a study in 2009 revealed Florida as being among the top five states with the highest incidences of motorists without insurance. The study showed that 25% of drivers in Florida are uninsured compared to 17% nationwide.
McChristian said that the costs are rising on a national level, which translates into more challenges for Florida. The consequence of fraud in the state has also massively affected the industry.
Neal admits that State Farm’s rising costs are attributed to higher prices for personal injury protection and bodily injury liability.
Despite the respite, auto insurance still continues to be a profitable venture with a plethora of competing companies. Since the turn of the millennium, drivers in the state have been able to benefit from the emerging competition which resulted in lower rates.
National Association of Insurance Commissioners reported that the typical cost of automobile insurance in the nation decreased by 2.6% in 2007. Moreover, expenditures also declined by 1.8% in 2006. There was a 1.3% decrease in 2005.
For State Farm, including its overall premiums in the state, there was reportedly about a 1% decrease in the middle of late 2005 to 2009.
Florida Office of Insurance Regulation spokesman Jack McDermott said that it would be premature for anyone to claim that the ‘era of auto rate cuts’ is over. McDermott said that there are no significant observable changes in the automobile insurance industry in the state despite a spike in the filings of bodily injury expenses.