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Thursday, February 6, 2014

GAO Study Details Challenges to Expanding Private Homeowners Insurance to Cover Flood & All Perils

A recently released GAO report studied "the possibility of private insurers providing more comprehensive insurance [flood and multiple perils]" and identified several challenges to expanding private coverage.

"Multiple factors make expanding private coverage challenging and several conditions would need to be addressed for insurers to offer more comprehensive insurance. A main challenge is that expanded coverage would have higher costs, potentially limiting consumer demand. Even if insurers charged higher rates that were based on risk, the severity and unpredictability of catastrophic losses could still jeopardize insurers’ solvency.

The challenging mix of financial risk, political and regulatory issues, policy cost, and consumer demand has thus far prevented private sector insurers in the U.S. from offering flood insurance to homeowners, let alone more comprehensive or all-perils policies. Because of this mix of factors, some in the insurance industry have suggested that a continuing financial role by federal and possibly state governments may be required, and that ensuring a response to the impact of disasters and other perils will require the cooperation and resources of government, homeowners, and insurers, as well as balance in the assumption of risk and cost by each of these parties."

Read the GAO Report.