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LANSING, Mich. – Concerned that Michigan residents are being charged “excessive” rates for home insurance, Office of Financial and Insurance Services Commissioner Linda Watters has launched the first phase of her investigation into rising home insurance rates in Michigan. The commissioner is also looking into auto insurance rates in the state for possible similar misconduct. Last month Watters issued a letter of inquiry to insurance companies writing home insurance policies in Michigan. The inquiry requires insurance companies to provide OFIS with rating information for the accident/calendar year 2001 and 2002. She intends to send a similar letter to insurance companies writing auto policies in the near future. “For the first time in more than 20 years, a careful examination of the rating information is taking place to determine if the home and auto rates consumers are being charged are excessive as defined by law,” said Watters. In her letter, the commissioner explained that her investigation was prompted “in part by the complaints of many policyholders that their rates have increased dramatically in recent years.” She emphasized that the letter “is not a call for the collection of data,” and she instructed insurance companies, “to make an efficient use of data that your company has already collected,” to instruct their statistical agent to submit the data to OFIS. The commissioner’s staff, she said, has made arrangements with statistical agents to facilitate the transfer of data. Insurance companies have until Feb. 17 to submit their data. A final report analyzing the data will be issued early in the summer.

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