Maine Insurance Department Publishes Survey

January 8, 2004

Maine’s Superintendent of Insurance, Alessandro Iuppa, announced the publication of the Bureau of Insurance report to the Maine State Legislature. The detailed report indicates that the state’s residents are finding it difficult to obtain coverage in some areas, and that overall premiums have risen an average 30 percent over the last three years.

The publication, entitled Report on Market Conditions and Trends for Property and Casualty Insurance in Maine, was mandated by the governor and the legislature last May (Public Law 310) and required the Superintendent to assess market conditions for property and casualty insurance in Maine.

It covers the time period 2000 to 2003, and concluded that homeowners insurance was among the most difficult personal lines coverage to obtain and retain. For business coverages, liability insurance for apartment owners and general contractors were identified as the most difficult lines to obtain.

“The report’s findings, while perhaps not surprising, provide a clear and concise picture of the Maine market and hopefully will prove useful to legislators as they consider relevant proposals during the legislative session,” stated Superintendent Iuppa.

The Bureau collected market data through a series of surveys of insurers, insurance agents, and the public. It also conducted a statewide consumer survey of individuals and small businesses and held four public meetings in Ellsworth, Presque Isle, Gardiner, and South Portland.

At the public meetings, participants expressed concern about homeowners insurance as well as the availability and cost for small commercial businesses and not-for-profit entities. Overall, policyholders expressed confusion and frustration with the quick pace of the insurance industry’s changes to underwriting rules and standards.

The full report can be found on the Bureau’s Web site at: :http://www.state.me.us/pfr/120_Legis/reports/ins_PL310_report_page.htm.

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