For the fourth time in three years, Louisiana’s largest insurer of homes is asking for a rate increase that, if approved, could raise homeowners', condominium and renters’ insurance premiums to an average of 26.7 percent higher than they were in 2008.

Associated Press business writer Alan Sayre reports that State Farm is asking the state Department of Insurance for an 8.5 percent average increase on 301,000 policyholders statewide. The rate hike would mean an additional $32.7 million a year in premium payments.

The request from State Farm comes only three months after state Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon denied the company’s request for an average 14.3 percent increase:

Insurance companies are not granted rate increases based upon prior losses, such as damage from four major hurricanes that have hit Louisiana in recent years. Instead, the rates are supposed to be set on projections of future losses using complicated mathematical models.

 State Farm did not provide a breakdown of how policyholders would be affected in various parts of the state, citing a law keeping that information confidential while the insurance department is considering the rate increase. Typically, a homeowner’s rate increase package includes increases for some portions of the state and decreases in others.

The company received a 9.9 percent increase last year after requesting 19.1 percent. In 2009, State Farm received an 8.3 percent increase after requesting 13.7 percent.

Read more here.

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