CARTERET COUNTY — The N.C. Department of Insurance has settled a legal dispute for a lower rate increase for homeowners’ and mobile homeowners’ insurance than what was originally proposed by the N.C. Rate Bureau last year, but many Carteret County homeowners will still see the sharpest rate increases in the state.
According to a Friday release from the NCDOI, Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey announced he negotiated with the NCRB for a statewide average homeowners’ insurance rate increase of 4%, down from a proposed statewide average increase of 17.4%. For mobile homeowners’ insurance, the average rate increase is 4.3% for casualty policies and 6.6% for fire policies, down from a proposed increase of 19% and 19.9%, respectively.
The NCRB proposed the rate increases in December 2018.
Mr. Causey said in the release the settlement averts a potentially costly administrative battle with insurance companies, and a hearing set for Oct. 2 was canceled. The NCRB represents companies writing property insurance in North Carolina and is not part of the NCDOI.
“I am happy to announce that North Carolina homeowners will save nearly $285 million a year in premium payments compared to what the NCRB had requested,” Mr. Causey said. “I am also glad the Department of Insurance has avoided a lengthy administrative legal battle which could have cost consumers time and money.”
Mr. Causey also negotiated a rate increase cap of 10%, rather than 30% as the NCRB originally proposed.
Actual insurance rate increases vary based on territory, with areas considered more at risk of experiencing natural disasters generally seeing higher insurance rates. The highest rate increases are seen mostly along the coast, which is prone to damage from hurricanes.
The majority of Carteret County homeowners will see some of the highest insurance rate increases in the state at 9.8% for beach and eastern coastal areas. Western coastal areas of Carteret County will see lower rate increases of 3.5%, but that only applies to a small area, including Stella.
Other territories of the state seeing the highest insurance rate increase of 9.8% are beach and coastal areas of the Outer Banks and the Wilmington area. More inland areas of those territories will see lower rate increases.
Mr. Causey said the lower than requested insurance rate increases mean homeowners will not pay as much for their policies. For example, Bogue Banks residents with a $200,000 frame home with a $1,000 deductible will pay about $400 less than if the NCRB’s proposed rates had gone into effect.
Some of North Carolina’s western-most territories will see insurance rate decreases around an average of 0.1%.
According to the NCDOI, rate increases will take effect on new and renewed policies written on or after Friday, May 1, 2020.
Contact Elise Clouser at firstname.lastname@example.org; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.