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Automobile insurers rev rates upward in Illinois

    If you live in Illinois and haven’t seen a higher car insurance bill yet, you probably soon will.
    Two of the state’s top four auto insurance companies, Allstate and GEICO, recently increased rates and State Farm, by far the state’s largest provider, posted rate increases last fall.
    Northbrook-based Allstate, Illinois’ second-largest car insurer, raised rates 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent, effective Jan. 16. GEICO, the state’s fourth-largest car insurer, hiked rates 2 to 3 percent for many customers beginning on March 3. The company is based in Washington, D.C.
    Ohio-based Progressive Corp., Illinois’ third-largest provider, made small rate cuts. The company has reduced rates several times following a big increase in 2012.
    Bloomington-based State Farm Cos., the nation’s largest auto insurer, raised rates between 3 percent and 4 percent beginning Sept. 30.
    You’re not likely to find much relief among the lesser players in the state’s crowded auto insurance market. Increases outnumber decreases about 9 to 1 in recent rate filings with the Illinois Department of Insurance.
    Private auto insurance rates are not regulated in Illinois, where more than 200 companies write auto insurance policies.
    Meghan O’Kelly, a spokeswoman for Allstate, said the company adjusts rates carefully to charge properly for the risk it assumes and ensure its ability to protect customers.
    “As is the industry standard, changes in market conditions in particular states require that we set rates that are adequate for the coverage we provide,” O’Kelly said. “In Illinois, the overall average rate adjustment (effective Jan. 16) is, on average, $2 more a month. We encourage all our customers to regularly consult with their Allstate agent about the most appropriate coverage and available discounts for their particular circumstances.”
    Missy Dundov, a State Farm spokeswoman, said rates were adjusted in Illinois last year to better reflect changing claim costs. She said those increases were due primarily to higher car repair costs. Dundov said that while premiums increased overall, individual customers’ premiums depend on several factors, including coverages, place of residence, the kind of vehicle driven, how it is used and who drives the vehicle.
    Rate hikes may be annoying but experts say Illinois rates are in line with recent national trends and the state’s rates are lower than the nationwide average.
    Compared to the rest of the country, Illinois car insurance rates are a little lower than average, according to January 2014 data reported by, a consumer-oriented website that follows insurance issues. The site ranks Illinois premiums the nation’s 32nd highest at an average of $1,370. That’s $133 below the national average.
    Perr&Knight, an insurance-industry consulting firm, reported in March that personal car insurance rates increased an average 2.5 percent nationwide last year. The company’s Rate Watch service monitors rate filings across the country. While premiums were little-changed in some states, none saw rates fall last year, the company said.
    The 2.5 percent increase in 2013 followed a 3.7 percent increase in 2012 and was in line with a five-year trend of increases between 2 and 4 percent, the report said.
    A report released in March by the Insurance Research Council said a study showed that medical expenses reported by auto insurance injury claimants had increased faster than the rate of inflation from 2007 through 2012, even though the severity of injuries trended downward. The council is a division of the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters.
    A report released by the same organization in December said a study showed that the affordability of auto insurance for low- and middle-income consumers had improved over the previous decade.
    The executive director of the Illinois Insurance Association, Kevin J. Martin, did not respond to requests for comment on behalf of the industry.

IBJ Newsmakers

Gori Julian donates $200,000 to Aquatic Center

    EDWARDSVILLE — Gori Julian & Associates, Inc., P.C., is donating $200,000 in support of the Edwardsville District 7’s Chuck Fruit Aquatic Center.
    In December, District 7 announced a donation of $4 million by an Edwardsville native to build an aquatic center with an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Named in memory of an Edwardsville High School graduate and longtime swimmer, the Chuck Fruit Aquatic Center will be located on the grounds of the District 7 Sports Complex. It is being built adjacent to the Jon Davis Wrestling Center directly across from the Edwardsville High School on Center Grove Road in Edwardsville. The Aquatic Center is designed to provide the Edwardsville High School with a more competitive swim program.
    The donation of $200,000 by Gori Julian & Associates will help supplement additional needed funds for the facility and falls in line with Gori Julian’s commitment to community service.
    “We are passionate about supporting local charities and our community through volunteer work, initiating our own fund-raising efforts and through cash donations. We felt it was important to help support this project because we wanted a way to help make District 7 schools even better for the children of our many employees and our clients whose kids attend school in Edwardsville. We also recognize that this project will allow our community to continue to thrive as a great place to work, live and raise a family,” said firm partner Randy Gori.
    The firm’s partners raised nearly $85,000 last year for the American Cancer Society at its Mardi Gras Ball, hold an annual pub crawl and a cycling event in support of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, and continue to work with organizations to support causes by donating both time and money.
    “We feel a firm of our size should give back to the community and should support causes that matter to us, our many attorneys, our clients and those who have helped our firm in its success as one of the largest asbestos and pharmaceutical litigation firms in the Midwest,” Gori said.


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