State Questions Homeowner Premiums After Insurance Profits Revealed

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AUSTIN (AP) - State regulators are wondering if homeowners are paying too much for insurance after learning that home insurers last year posted their second most profitable year of the decade.

Texas Department of Insurance spokesman Jerry Hagins says the state has instructed insurance companies to submit their current home insurance rates along with documentation to support those figures.

The department can order rate reductions and refunds if an insurer is found to be charging excessive premiums.

Reports released yesterday show most home insurance companies
enjoyed comfortable profits in 2006 -- the fourth straight year of solid profits in the industry.

Consumer advocates said the new figures show homeowners are being overcharged and require protection from the Legislature.

But insurance industry officials say the current rates are fair and justifiable in the long term.