NC Department of Insurance

RALEIGH — North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey announced Tuesday he has set Sept. 20 as the hearing date for the North Carolina Rate Bureau’s proposed 24.5% average homeowners’ insurance rate increase.

“The data in the filing has not convinced me that such a drastic increase is necessary,” Mr. Causey said in a release. “My goal is to find a rate that will made financial sense to our residents and keep our insurance companies healthy enough to pay claims.”

The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. in the Second Floor Hearing Room in the Albemarle Building, 325 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh.

The hearing will be held unless the N.C. Department of Insurance and the NCRB are able to negotiate a settlement before that date. State law gives the insurance commissioner 45 days to issue an order once the hearing concludes. Once the order is issued, the NCRB has the right to appeal the decision before the N.C. Court of Appeals. A Court of Appeals order could then be appealed to the N.C. Supreme Court.

The NCRB and NCDOI can negotiate a settlement at any time during litigation.

The NCRB filed the average 24.5% homeowners’ insurance rate increase Nov. 9. The filing covers insurance for residential property, tenants and condominiums at varying rates around the state. Under the NCRB proposal, the increases would be felt statewide with most homeowners seeing a 25% increase.

According to the filing, if a lower amount is not settled upon, homeowners in beach and inland areas of Carteret County would be subject to the 25% rate increase. 

The NCRB, which is not part of the NCDOI, represents insurers that write the state’s homeowners’ policies. In its filing, the NCRB said the reason for the requested increase is North Carolina has experienced increased wind and hail losses stemming from damaging storms.

The NCDOI held a public comment forum Dec. 10 in person and via WebEx regarding the NCRB rate filing. The department also received more than 6,500 emailed comments on the proposed rate increase.

The last NCRB homeowners’ rate filing was in December 2018 for a statewide average increase of 17.4%. Mr. Causey negotiated a rate 13.4 percentage points lower, resulting in a statewide average increase of 4%. As a result, Carteret County homeowners saw rates increase up to 9.8%, among the highest in the state. Those rates took effect in May. 

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