Records show insurance rates rising in metro Atlanta

WALTON COUNTY, Ga. — Channel 2 consumer investigator Jim Strickland got his insurance bill in the mail and started asking questions.

Strickland obtained state records showing substantial increases in homeowners insurance rates granted since 2012.

Barbara Reeves of Loganville showed Strickland one of the letters she got explaining why the rates were going up.

"I just took it," she said.

An insurance industry spokesman told Strickland one Georgian's calamity is spread among all Georgians' premiums.  We've had plenty of calamity, especially hail.

"The hail really has been a big contributor to that.  It's just a really expensive one to have to cover," said Jamie Kimbrough, of the Georgia Insurance Information Service.

Rate increase records for the past three years show State Farm Fire and Casualty won three increases,  compounded for a rate hike of 23 percent since 2012.

Allstate Fire and Casualty also was granted three increases.  The latest came last month.  They combine for a 28 percent hike since 2012.

Travelers had only two increases but they were substantial; 26 percent in all.

"It's going up on everybody.  But it's something you have to have and the insurance companies know it," said Reeves.

Strickland learned Georgia Farm Bureau and Farmers Insurance have filed no rate increase requests in the last three years.

"The filings are not done in a vacuum," said Kimbrough.  "It's a balancing act, and insurance companies are not trying to gauge customers at all."

Insurance commissioner Ralph Hudgens said in a statement:

"I have worked hard to guarantee a balance between what is fair and affordable for the consumer and making sure that insurers remain in our state and continue to write policies. This has been made more challenging because of the high number of severe weather events such as (tornadoes) and hail storms occurring over the past years. I believe Georgians have benefited from this delicate balance resulting in a competitive marketplace and ample consumer choice."