Wed., May 25, 2011 2:54pm (EDT)

Tornadoes Could Hike Insurance Rates
By Josephine Bennett
Updated: 3 years ago

MACON, Ga.  —  
Tornado damage in Ringold, Ga. (photo Edgar Treiguts)
Tornado damage in Ringold, Ga. (photo Edgar Treiguts)
A spate of recent natural disasters could bump Georgia insurance rates, but not right away. State insurance officials say, April tornadoes caused $145 million in losses.

Insurance companies need state approval to raise rates. They also have to justify the increase using loss information gathered over time.

Steve Manders with the Georgia Office of the Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner reviews rate increase requests. He says 2008 tornadoes, not this year's, are affecting current requests.

“We’re already seeing some pressure on rate increases just from our past experiences, not including this. And, this is going to compound it even worse probably. That’s what our fear is.”

Manders says, some companies are asking to boost rates as much as 20 percent. Insurance companies use different formulas to set rates so he says people should shop around.