Committee says it needs more time to make recommendations
While a panel charged with studying the problem of rising home insurance costs in coastal communities will submit a report by its Oct. 1 deadline, it will also need more time to suggest ways the Legislature might address the issue.
Rep. Ronald Mariano, a Quincy Democrat who is a co-chairman of the commission, said his panel expects to take at least another month to submit recommendations to the Legislature.
‘‘We just don’t have enough time and it’s too diverse of a group to come up with a set of recommendations (by Oct. 1),’’ said Mariano, also who is also co-chairman of the Legislature’s financial services committee.
The report the panel will file with the Legislature by the deadline describes some of the problems that commission members observed in the state’s home insurance market, he said.
He said the commission’s report will consider controversial hurricane models, the stiff rates that reinsurance companies charge property insurers and the lack of incentives for private insurers to pull homeowner policies out of the state-regulated insurance plan of last resort, known as the FAIR plan.
Hurricane models have been under scrutiny by coastal residents. The models show that there’s an increasing possibility a catastrophic storm will strike the Massachusetts coast - but the state still hasn’t been hit with such a storm.
‘‘No one knows what goes into the formula,’’ Mariano said. ‘‘No one knows what data is used. There’s a lot of mistrust. We want to open the process up a little bit.’’
The commission was created through legislation included this past summer in the state budget bill. Members include lawmakers, representatives from state agencies, insurance industry representatives and consumer advocates.
Malcolm Donald, a homeowner in West Falmouth, seems hopeful that the Legislature might craft some useful reforms. He said his home ended up in the state’s FAIR plan two years ago after his insurer, Vermont Mutual, dropped him. He said his annual home insurance cost rose from about $1,000 to nearly $1,900 in the two years since the switch.
Like many other homeowners in coastal communities, Donald is frustrated that he faces big hikes in homeowner insurance, even though he lives more than a half-mile from the beach.
‘‘We seem to be lumped in with everybody that’s right on the water,’’ Donald said. ‘‘The model doesn’t seem to be localized enough.’’
Jon Chesto may be reached at email@example.com .