Proposed FAIR Plan insurance hikes subject of May 29 hearing

The Division of Insurance will hold a public hearing on increases proposed by the Mass FAIR (Fair Access to Insurance Requirements) Plan on Wednesday, May 29, at the Barnstable Town Hall at 367 Main Street in Hyannis. The hearing starts at 11 am in the second-floor hearing room.

The FAIR Plan is a state program for property owners who cannot get coverage from private insurance companies. It is the insurer of last resort for many Island property owners.

In the proposal the FAIR Plan board with the Massachusetts Division of Insurance in April, increases would average 6.8 percent, with increases and decreases capped at 9.9 percent. Rate changes vary among communities, and homes on the Cape and Islands would be subject to the highest increases, at 9.9 percent.

“There are a number of different components in the rate filing — but the two most controversial components of the rate filings are the inclusion of the cost of reinsurance and the use of new hurricane models that show Massachusetts at a potentially greater risk of storm damage,” the Insurance Journal reported online on May 6.

State regulators must approve the proposal in order for the rates to take effect in July. Last year, State Commissioner Joseph G. Murphy rejected the FAIR Plan’s proposal to increase rates by an average of 7.2 percent statewide.

Paula Aschettino, chairman of the Citizens for Homeowners Insurance Reform, sent an email to members urging them to attend the public hearing on May 29. “This was arranged for us so many can attend,” she wrote.

Ms. Aschettino said the citizens’ group, which represents many Cape and Island homeowners who pay high premiums, also plans to hold a protest rally starting at 9:30 am outside Barnstable Town Hall.