Sean King

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Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Peak Inside the Insurance Industry

HeraldTribune.com:
Today, nearly half of Florida's home insurance is provided by companies whose primary profit comes not from insuring homes but from diverting premiums into a host of side ventures.

Investors and executives in 2008 moved $1.9 billion in policyholder money out of heavily regulated insurers, where profits are capped and dividends are restricted, to separate companies that are owned by the same people, housed at the same address and sometimes use the same employees.

As soon as the money is moved, it is beyond the reach of homeowners who might need it to rebuild after a disaster.

It is also free to be paid to investors and owners as profit without interference from regulators.

Meanwhile, insurance executives complained about losses and state-mandated discounts, and pressured state regulators for permission to charge homeowners more -- even to end rate regulation altogether.

I agree with the Herald Tribune's diagnosis of the problem, but I suspect I will disagree with their prescription for fixing it.

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