By WLOX Staff
JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - State Farm will begin writing new homeowners' policies in most of Mississippi. The only areas still excluded are the three coastal counties. Rates will also increase.
The state's largest insurer, which stopped writing new homeowners' policies after Katrina, announced Tuesday, agents will be able to write the new insurance policies beginning June 15.
State Farm spokesman David Majors told WLOX News the number of new policies will be limited, based on the number of policies each agent has on the books.
"We feel it's a positive move to open up the market, and hope it's a gradual move to opening more coverage in Mississippi," Majors said.
Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney told WLOX News, "The announcement of State Farm once again writing homeowner policies in the state as a positive move. However, we are disappointed that we could not do more for the three coastal counties. The Mississippi Insurance Department will continue to work with State Farm on this issue."
Insurance rates will increase an average of 3.9 percent statewide, expect on the coast, where homeowners saw a double digit increase last year. That increase was approved by Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney. The new rates go into effect for new policies August 1st and October 1st for renewals.
State Farm is also making coverage changes in Pearl River, Stone and George counties where policyholders recently lost their State Farm wind coverage. Getting back on State Farm's wind plan will require a two percent hurricane deductible and an all-perils deductible of one percent or $1,000, whichever is higher.
State Farm will also offer increased discounts for customers who have their home and auto policies with the company. The home-auto discount will increase from 15 percent to 20 percent at renewal.
Increased discounts for those customers without claims will also increase; zero to two years claims-free will go from a five percent to a seven percent discount; 3-5 years claims-free will increase from a 10 percent to a 13 percent discount.