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Insurers told to ease rates for 'struggling' homeowners

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 2:26 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011

The state insurance commissioner has ordered insurers offering homeowners' policies to submit new rate schedules in response to a review that found that local residents were being charged at "excessive levels."

State Insurance Commissioner Gordon Ito said by law insurers have until Oct. 6 to submit their new filings or risk the possibility of sanctions. Ito's office sent a memo to insurers June 8 informing them of the requirement.

"After reviewing the most recent data, I concluded that rates should not be this high for homeowners who are struggling during these tough economic times," Ito said Thursday in a news release.

"We are looking out for homeowners to ensure they are being treated fairly.

Ito said a review of data compiled by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners showed that losses incurred by Hawaii insurers offering homeowners' policies are "significantly below" the national average and "far below" the levels necessary for insurers to earn reasonable rates of return.

The memo does not apply to hurricane rates, a separate line of insurance.

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