"They need to understand that insurers have increased loss costs," said Andy Case, Consumer Services director for the Mississippi Insurance Department. "They've determined it's not short-term trend. Sometimes we'll tell an insurer to hold off and 'let's kind of watch,' but this seems to be a long term trend, seems to be here to stay. As a result, they're going to seek some relief from the additional costs that they're saddled with, and we expect that to come in the form of request for higher rates from a lot of companies."
One reason for the increase, Case said accidents are happening more often across the country, and it's a trend Brad Keith, owner and partner of Keith and Lowrimore Insurance, said he has seen in the Pine Belt (southeast Mississippi).
"What we've seen here at our agency is a significant increase in auto accidents over the past year or so, probably more than I've seen in the 15 years I've been in insurance," Keith said.
Joe Woods, vice president of state government affairs for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, said he has seen the same increase in the same time frame.
"Since the end of 2014, there's been a surge in the number of accidents," Woods said. "The increase is across the country, but the increase in Mississippi is greater than in most states. Mississippi's increase was about 16 percent over the last two years, and it put it in the top 10 states in the country as far as that increase, that alarm bell that went off for us."
Now those crashes are costing all Mississippi drivers.
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