A public comment period is open for a proposed insurance rate hike that could mean an average 30-percent increase in homeowner policies across 18 coastal counties.
The N.C. Department of Insurance said that it has received a homeowners rate filing from the North Carolina Rate Bureau. The Rate Bureau, which represents the property insurance companies doing business in the state, requested a statewide average increase of 17.7 percent. It is also requesting that the new rates take effect June 1, 2013.
Several area organizations say the filing shows the same discrepancies they’ve seen with past requests, with coastal counties bearing the brunt of the increases.
The Business Alliance for a Sound Economy said that while an average increase of 30 percent is proposed across the coastal counties, other areas of the state would see increases of only 1.2 percent.
And the 2012 filing follows rate increases that coastal homeowners have faced in every rate cycle since 1992.
“It comes down to the equity of it,” said Cameron Moore, governmental affairs director for BASE.
In reviewing the rate filing, Moore said there are several new issues, including the addition of reinsurance costs in the rulemaking and proposed rates based on $75,000 worth of coverage instead of the previous $150,000.
Homeowners could see their insurance costs increase $300 to $400 per year.
“We certainly think it’s unjustified,” said Willo Kelly, president of NC-20, a group of individuals, local governments and businesses promoting economic development in the state’s coastal counties.
NC-20 fought against the 2009 rate increases and plans to oppose the latest as well.
Kelly said they’ll be talking about the insurance rate issue during its Eastern Issues Symposium to be held Wednesday in Morehead City, and they plan to have members attend the public hearing on the requested rate hike in Raleigh.
Legislation passed earlier this year mandates that the insurance commissioner call a public comment period on any Rate Bureau property insurance rate filing within 30 days of the filing.
A public comment session is scheduled for Oct. 17 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Jim Long Hearing Room of the DobbsBuilding, 430 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh.
Written comments can be submitted through Oct. 19. Comments can be emailed to email@example.com or sent to: NCDOI; Attn. Bob Mack; Property & Casualty Division; 1201 MailServiceCenter; Raleigh, NC.27699-1201.
The rate filing is available for public review on the Department of Insurance website at pserff.ncdoi.net/pc.html. Enter Serff Tracking Number NCRI-128708881.