When you call on the insurance industry, it’s time to ask for the data
By Matt ViserPublished November 09, 2016 11:12:38Insurance industry officials have warned that consumers need to be prepared for more aggressive pricing in the wake of a record-breaking hurricane season that saw the number of insured increase by more than 10 million from 2015 to 2016.
“The storm surge has been a big part of what we’ve been seeing in terms of the premium hikes that are out there, but also the surge has impacted all of the consumer behaviors,” said Gary O’Brien, senior vice president of policy at the American Insurance Association, an industry group.
Insurers have faced pressure from the White House and lawmakers to reduce premiums, as they seek to limit damage from the storm, as well as from rising insurance premiums as a result of the president’s efforts to raise the federal minimum wage.
The White House recently ordered insurers to provide consumers with data about how many policies they have, including the average rate, the amount of coverage they offer, and how many premium dollars they pay.
Insurers are also offering discounts to help consumers purchase policies with lower premiums.
In an attempt to help insurers, the administration has also ordered insurers not to disclose the types of policies they are offering, such as policies with no deductibles and those with high out-of-pocket expenses, and not to reveal how much their plans are costing.
Insurance companies are also starting to use data from consumer surveys to determine what customers are paying, to help them figure out if they need to increase their premiums or not.
And they are also using data from the National Flood Insurance Program to offer discounts to consumers to help reduce their premiums.
In the past, many insurers have taken the position that consumers are more likely to change their minds and buy policies with higher premiums because they know that premiums are more expensive than they were last year.
But O’Connor said there are signs that consumer behavior is changing and that consumers will be more willing to switch insurers if the industry can offer lower premiums for the same or similar coverage.
Even so, O’Neil said, the industry is still “still working through the challenges” that the storm created.
On Tuesday, the insurance regulator announced it would require insurers to conduct a risk-adjusted analysis of their risk profiles to determine how much premiums could rise, and the administration announced it was taking a broader approach to reducing premiums, including a push for all insurers to give consumers access to premium data.