Insurance company can raise rates without state OK

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - Allstate Corp. has begun selling homeowners insurance policies through a new unit that doesn't have to get state approval to raise its rates.

Allstate has been dropping wind damage coverage from home policies in Mobile and Baldwin counties.

The new unit, North Light Specialty Insurance Co., is a lightly regulated surplus lines company.

Surplus lines policies are written by companies not licensed by the state.

Illinois-based Allstate blamed the Alabama Insurance Department's refusal to allow some desired rate increases when it ended wind coverage for up to 9,150 homes in Mobile and Baldwin counties starting in September 2008.

The state said its actuaries couldn't justify what Allstate wanted to charge.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)