AUSTIN - State Farm Insurance, already accused by state regulators of overcharging Texas customers, filed papers Wednesday to increase homeowner rates nearly 23 percent in Dallas County and 11 percent statewide.

State Farm policyholders along the Gulf Coast will pay even more, with increases of 13 percent to 39 percent on top of the statewide hike, attributed to a predicted upsurge in hurricane activity this year and beyond.

The company, the largest insurer in Texas with about 1 million customers, tempered the news by also filing for a 2.6 percent decrease in auto rates and pledging to more than double the discount for customers who have both auto and home policies with the company.

The state insurance department will review the rates and can try to block the increases if it considers them excessive. That could delay the rate increase until the dispute is resolved.

Sophie Harbert, a spokeswoman for State Farm, noted that home insurance rates have been unchanged in Texas since January 2003, but costs have been rising.

The new rate filing brought strong criticism from consumer groups and sharp questions from the Texas Department of Insurance, which has been locked in a court battle with the company since fall 2003 over State Farm's homeowner rates.

"We are going to scrutinize this very, very closely," said Jim Hurley, a department spokesman. "We've been claiming all along they are charging excessive rates in a case that is still in court. Those rates are at the center of the case, and those are the rates they are still charging in Texas. If they were excessive then, they are still excessive now."

Mr. Hurley called State Farm's request odd because the company hasn't justified its current rates. But Ms. Harbert noted that State Farm has been winning the case and maintains that its rates are fair and competitive with other companies.

"I cannot believe that after all these years of overcharging for their policies that State Farm would have the nerve to request a rate increase," he said. "Instead of trying to increase rates, they need to pay back the money they still owe their policyholders."

The insurance department accused State Farm of overcharging Texans by about 12 percent dating to fall 2003. Estimates of the potential refunds due to policyholders have reached more than $350 million plus interest.

Under the state's file-and-use system for insurance rates, which took effect in 2004, insurers may increase or decrease rates without state approval after they notify the insurance department. The new setup was approved by the Legislature in a massive insurance reform law passed in 2003.

The law empowers the insurance commissioner and his staff to review all rate changes, authorizing the commissioner to order lower rates and refunds if proposed rate increases are found to be excessive. Insurers can appeal the commissioner's decision.

Insurance Commissioner Mike Geeslin "should send that rate increase right back to the scrap heap it came from," said Mr. Winslow of Texas Watch.

The primary rate filing for homeowners insurance is based on the "projected cost of future anticipated claims and expenses" and averages 10.7 percent across the state. It also includes increases of about 23 percent for Dallas County and 24 percent for Tarrant County.

Insurers note that the Dallas area is prone to damaging storms. Five of the 10 costliest storms in Texas since 1950 - as measured by insurance losses - have occurred in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, according to the Insurance Council of Texas.

Stacie Hanes, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, said that while the area is currently in a dry spell and hasn't had a huge hailstorm this year, hail can pop up suddenly.

"Even though rain isn't widespread necessarily, you're still going to have thunderstorms," Ms. Hanes said. "They can be fast-moving and not drop much rain in the area, but there's going to be hail usually."

But the area hasn't had a slew of storms containing hail that the weather service considers damaging, either. Last year, it recorded two reports of such hail in Dallas and Tarrant counties. There were six such reports the year before.

Ms. Hanes also noted that more large hail systems have been reported in the last 15 years than in the past, but she said that's probably an indication of an increase in the population and more widespread property, not necessarily a change in climate patterns.

The second rate filing for homeowners calls for an additional increase primarily in coastal counties, ranging from 13 percent to 39 percent. North Texas is not affected by the filing.

Ms. Harbert said that increase is based on higher reinsurance costs for State Farm. Reinsurers provide insurance for insurance companies, assuming some of their exposure to unusually large catastrophes such as hurricanes.

"Reinsurers are anticipating another active hurricane season, and they have increased their costs," she said. "This is a direct pass-through to policyholders for the 2006 hurricane season."

"Housing costs are up 13 percent, gasoline prices have increased 45 percent and concrete products by almost 21 percent," she said. In 2005 alone, the overall cost of construction went up 11 percent."

Ms. Harbert also noted that actual premiums paid by homeowners would vary significantly based on discounts and individual coverages, including deductibles.

Most State Farm policyholders will be able to take advantage of the higher discount for combined auto and home coverage because 81 percent of homeowners insured by the company also have their vehicles insured by State Farm. That discount, reflected in homeowner premiums, will rise from 5 percent to 12 percent beginning in July.

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