States Dig Into Homeowners Insurance and Why It’s Hard to Buy

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State regulators around the country asked hundreds of insurance companies on Friday to provide the details of how they price and structure their homeowner policies, part of an attempt to dig into why many property owners are struggling to get and keep coverage.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the group representing the regulators, said that state agencies wrote to more than 400 companies asking them for detailed data on their homeowners’ insurance businesses. The companies’ responses are due by early June, and they must comply or risk fines.

The association’s president, Andrew N. Mais, who is Connecticut’s insurance commissioner, said in a statement on the group’s website that the request was made to “address the critical challenge of the affordability and availability of homeowners’ insurance and the financial health of insurance companies.”

Inflation and increasingly severe weather driven by climate change have recently upended many local markets for homeowners insurance. Some major insurers have pulled out of states including Florida and California. In those places, and in others hit hard by catastrophic events like windstorms and wildfires, some homeowners have slashed their coverage to deal with the rising costs of insurance.

“The most pressing need at this time is to help communities adapt to climate-related risks and make sure they are adequately insured against events that can’t be prevented,” said Mark Friedlander, a spokesman for the insurance industry trade group, the Insurance Information Institute.

Some of the data will be shared with the Treasury Department’s Federal Insurance Office, which is looking into climate change’s effects on the insurance industry. Mr. Friedlander said it could help the federal government create policies to protect property owners in high-risk areas of the country.

The request is state insurance regulators’ broadest response yet to big changes in homeowners insurance markets. Each company is being asked to give specific information about the kinds of coverage it offers in different ZIP codes and the recent history of its claims payouts in those areas. The insurers will have to share information about the size of their customers’ deductibles and the opportunities for discounts that customers can get by fixing or upgrading parts of their homes.

The regulators expect to be able to use the data to create a clear and detailed picture of about 80 percent of all homeowners’ plans as measured by total insurance premiums, according to the announcement on Friday.

The Consumer Federation of America, the Center for Economic Justice and Public Citizen, three groups focused on helping consumers get affordable insurance coverage, said in a joint statement on Friday that the move was long overdue.

“Unlike regulators for other financial services, state insurance regulators have refused for decades” to collect the granular information on auto and home insurance that is needed to evaluate the market for consumers, the statement said.

The consumer groups also said that since the regulators asked for data on insurers’ plans only for individual homeowners, they risked missing out on some crucial information from policies issued to condo and co-op associations and to affordable housing developers.

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