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The Associated Press June 20, 2011, 5:16PM ET

State Farm wants 8.5 percent homeowners increase

State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., Louisiana's largest insurer of homes, is asking state insurance regulators for permission to boost premiums by an average 8.5 percent.

In a filing released Monday by the state insurance department, State Farm said the requested hike for just over 301,000 policyholders would increase rates by $32.7 million annually. The insurer wants the higher rates to go into effect for new policies on Aug. 15 and be added to renewed policies on Oct. 1.

In March, Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon rejected a State Farm request for an average 14.3 percent increase, saying it was not justified. That increase would have raised homeowner rates by $55 million annually.

It's the third straight year that State Farm is seeking higher rates in Louisiana. The company received a 9.9 percent increase last year after requesting 19.1 percent. In 2009, State Farm received an 8.3 percent increase after requesting 13.7 percent.

Insurance companies are not granted rate increases based upon prior losses, such as damage from four major hurricanes that have hit Louisiana in recent years. Instead, the rates are supposed to be set on projections of future losses using complicated mathematical models.

State Farm did not provide a breakdown of how policyholders would be affected in various parts of the state, citing a law keeping that information confidential while the insurance department is considering the rate increase. Typically, a homeowner's rate increase package includes increases for some portions of the state and decreases in others.

State Farm spokeswoman Molly Quirk said the rate plan would affect homes, condominiums and renters' coverage.

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