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Woodland Park homeowners struggle with insurance

Published On: Jan 27 2013 06:56:19 PM CST

Woman says insurance company dropped her policy because she lives in a high fire danger area.

WOODLAND PARK, Colo. -

A Woodland Park woman said her insurance company dropped her homeowner's policy because she lives in a high fire danger area.

Monica Zanfes said she received a letter from Progressive, notifying her of her policy's expiration. She confirmed the message with an agent, who told her they were dropping others' policies in the neighborhood. And other insurance companies have turned her away too.

"My house isn't paid for," she said. "If something would happen to it, then I'd be paying for something without insurance for the rest of my life."

KRDO NEWSCHANNEL 13 spoke to an insurance expert from a different company. Jim Whitlock, from American Family Insurance, said Zanfes's situation is a little surprising. But it explains the current state of the insurance business.

He said companies asses risk and charge the appropriate premium for it. But the pricing models that are currently in place don't fully understand how much risk there is in wildfires.

"Right now, the industry is just saying, this risk is not a risk that we want to have until we further study what we can do to make sure that we understand the risk well enough to insure it properly," he said.

He added that different companies make different business decisions. A company that won't take new policies in a certain area now could do so in the future.

Zanfes doesn't see her neighborhood as that high of a risk. She lives two blocks away from a fire station. And she said recent fires in the area have been human-caused. And she said even if it was, having her policy dropped isn't the answer. She said she would understand pricing increases.

Whitlock's advice is to continue shopping for insurance companies, but expect higher rates.

Progressive Insurance didn't respond to requests for comments.

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