Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Season’s Greetings! I hope all of you are enjoying some well-deserved time off. And since many of you are on holiday, I’d like to pass along some light insurance reading that may interest you.

First, the Houston Chronicle reported that Allstate Insurance has asked Texas regulators to allow the company to raise home insurance rates by an average of 5.7% statewide. And although Allstate’s requested rate increase may not come as a surprise to you, for the simple reason that insurance companies routinely request rate increases, Allstate blames the rate increase on the potential for more wildfires in Texas.

The Houston Chronicle also reported that:

Policyholders with Allstate Fire and Casualty could face an increase of an average 9.8 percent. Allstate and its subsidiaries provide insurance coverage for about 585,000 Texas homeowners.

The higher rates would take effect Jan. 26, 2012, for current customers, subject to regulatory review over the next 30 days. New customers will pay more beginning this week.

In other news, the Huffington Post published an amazing article detailing the insurance industry’s strategy of purposefully delaying insurance payments. The article points out that the delay many of you have experienced in receiving your insurance payments may not have been accidental. Instead, the article explains how the insurance industry embraced the practice of delaying payments after McKinsey & Company – the world’s largest consulting company – recommended to Allstate to employ such a strategy. Once Allstate’s competitors realized how much money Allstate was making off of its delay tactics, many others followed suit.

I hope you find the articles in this post informative and beneficial. Have a Happy New Year and see you in 2012!