updated 12/7/2006 1:55:08 PM ET 2006-12-07T18:55:08

Allstate Corp., the largest publicly traded U.S. home and auto insurer, said Thursday it will stop writing new homeowner policies in New Jersey on Feb. 5, citing concern a hurricane might strike the state.

The state's second-largest home insurer after State Farm said the change will not affect 230,000 homeowners who already have policies with the company.

Allstate will no longer write new policies for owners of homes, condominiums, mobile homes and landlords. It said it will also not renew policies for about 300 commercial customers in eight coastal counties.

"We have entered a decades-long period of increases in the severity and frequency of hurricanes," spokeswoman Sheila Breeding said. "New Jersey, while not as risky as a state like Florida, certainly has an enormous concentration of population on the shores, as well as increasing property values exposed to Mother Nature."

Allstate, which is based in Northbrook, Illinois, is trying to limit exposure to catastrophes after suffering about $3.1 billion of losses last year from Gulf Coast storms such as Hurricane Katrina. The company in June said it was dropping earthquake coverage for most of its homeowner policies.

In this year's third quarter, Allstate posted a $1.16 billion profit, helped by an unexpected lack of major storms, compared with a year-earlier $1.55 billion loss.

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Data: Latest rates in the US

Home equity rates View rates in your area
Home equity type Today +/- Chart
$30K HELOC FICO 3.79%
$30K home equity loan FICO 4.99%
$75K home equity loan FICO 4.69%
Credit card rates View more rates
Card type Today +/- Last Week
Low Interest Cards 13.83%
Cash Back Cards 17.80%
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Source: Bankrate.com