What the U.S. homeowners insurance market urgently needs is greater policy form standardization, with insurers taking their cues from independent rating organizations rather than their own underwriters–at least that’s what University of Minnesota Associate Law Professor Daniel Schwarcz told the National Association of Insurance Commissioners at their recent meeting in Seattle, as reported by National Underwriter on Aug. 19 (see http://bit.ly/dBGYJi).

Professor Schwarcz’s PowerPoint presentation to the NAIC–titled “Deficient Consumer Protection in the Regulation of Insurance Policy Forms: Evidence from Homeowners Markets”–asserted that homeowners insurance policyholders in 2010 have fewer financial protections listed in their policies, protecting them against a diminishing number of perils, than they did five- or 10 years ago.

That is simply not the case. While every homeowners policy provides a baseline of essential coverages–financial protection against losses arising from a fire, windstorm or theft–each insurer then distinguishes and differentiates itself in the market by offering an array of policies to suit the many and varied interests of their customers.

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