Insurance Commissioner Blocks Allstate's Rate Hike

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AUSTIN (AP) - The Texas Department of Insurance has blocked Allstate's plan to raise homeowner insurance rates by 5.9 percent. Regulators faulted the proposal as unreasonable and excessive.

Insurance Commissioner Mike Geeslin's order yesterday came one day after Allstate Insurance announced the rate hikes would take effect immediately for policy renewals.

The commissioner says Allstate is now restricted from raising rates without supervision from state regulators.

He says company has "repeatedly" tried to impose excessive rates on its customers over the last three years.

Allstate, the state's second-largest home insurer, says the rate increase is necessary considering the risks associated with doing business in Texas.

Spokesman Bill Mellander says the company believes the rate hike was justified and competitive.

Geeslin also rejected a 2 percent rate increase that Allstate had proposed for coastal counties.