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Insurance payouts on dog bites are rising across US

Insurance payouts on dog bites are rising across US

Insurance payouts on dog bites are rising across US
News from Asheville Citizen-Times:

DES MOINES, Iowa – Put a muzzle on your mutt, or your premiums might go up.

Dog bites accounted for more than a third of all homeowners insurance liability claims paid in 2011, costing nearly $ 479 million in the U.S., according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Property casualty insurers pay out far more in claims for property damage to homes. But when it comes to liability, the cost of dog bite claims has risen 48 percent since 2003 even though the number of dog bites has remained roughly flat, the organization said.

State Farm, the largest writer of homeowners insurance in the U.S., paid more than $ 109 million on nearly 3,800 dog bite claims in 2011.

High payouts on dog bites are happening because more people own dogs, they live closer to one another, and parents are more likely to get advanced medical care for their children after a bite, said Bob Skow, chief executive of the Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa.

“Forty years ago, a kid got bit; Mom and Dad didn’t take him to a plastic surgeon,” he said. “Nowadays they do.”

Most often, kids are the bite victims. Skow said people should own dogs appropriate for where they live and train them properly. Parents also should teach their children how to avoid provoking dogs.

The United States has 78.2 million dogs, according to the American Pet Products Association, o…………… continues on Asheville Citizen-Times

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