Homeowner insurance rates in Maine continue to rise at a modest pace.

Most rates are going up less then 5 percent, industry representatives and state officials said.

Tony Payne, vice president of business for Clark Insurance of Maine, said the company’s rates are rising less than 5 percent on average, and Laurie Noel, vice president of personal lines for Cross Insurance, said her agency also is seeing increases “in the low to middle single-digit” range.

This contrasts with Massachusetts, where homeowners are seeing bigger increases this year – sometimes up 10 percent – after claims piled up in the wake of the harsh winter of 2014-15, when heavy snows caused roof problems and spring melting led to flooded basements.

According to the Maine Bureau of Insurance, rates have risen for five consecutive years because of an increasing number and size of claims. In 2015, rates rose an average of 4.1 percent, but were still 10th-lowest in the country and lowest in New England for 2013, the last year for which state-by-state and national figures were available, Doug Dunbar, a spokesman for the Maine Bureau of Insurance, said in an email.

Rate increases are “nothing out of the ordinary at this point,” he said.

Mainers suffered direct losses of $174 million in 2015, which Dunbar characterized as not “unusually excessive.” In general, Dunbar said, insurers try to avoid hiking rates too much – risking the loss of customers – based on a single year’s claims experience, but rather spread it out over three or four years.

Dunbar and the two insurance agency representatives said homeowners who live on or near the coast are probably seeing bigger increases, as insurers prepare for larger and more damaging storms that they anticipate will hit in coming years. Some of those homeowners may find coverage “difficult to obtain and more expensive,” Dunbar said, and Payne said policies for those homeowners often come with higher deductibles for some coverage, such as insurance for wind damage.

Ed Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

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