Homeowners in Eastern North Carolina will see their insurance rates increase again in the spring, with some seeing a hike of about 10%.

The rate increases are less than what was initially requested by the North Carolina Rate Bureau but it is the state’s coastal communities as well as homeowners in Duplin and Lenoir counties who will see the highest increases, according to information from the N.C. Department of Insurance.

The Department of Insurance negotiated a settlement with the Rate Bureau over their request for an overall statewide increase in homeowners insurance of 17.4% and announced that a hearing planned for this week was cancelled.

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"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," Commissioner Mike 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."

The settlement was for an overall statewide increase of 4%, with a cap of 10 percent. Rates vary by territories, with the highest negotiated rate increases being 9.8% in coastal areas and the western-most territory of the state seeing 0.1% decrease.

Tyler Newman, president of the Business Alliance for a Sound Economy (BASE), which includes the Jacksonville Board of Realtors and Topsail Island Association of Realtors among its members, said the increases show an ongoing concern.

Newman said there is already inequity across the state in base homeowner insurance rates and coastal communities continue to see the highest rate increases when they already pay their fair share .

“Unfortunately, (the increase) is not necessarily surprising but it is frustrating,” Newman said. “Homeowners on the cost get the highest increase when they are already paying considerably more.”

The increase is for the base homeowners insurance and many are also having to carry separate wind/hail coverage or flood insurance policies.

Newman said the rate requests keep coming every year or two and there is currently a Rate Bureau request being considered for those with dwelling policies, which are policies offered to non-owner-occupied residences of no more than four units, including rental properties, investment properties and other properties that are not occupied full time by the property owner.

“It has been ongoing every year or two,” he said.

Homeowners in all of the beach areas, including Bogue Banks and Topsail Isle will see an increase of 9.8% as will the coastal areas of Onslow, Carteret and Pender counties, including Swansboro, Hubert, Sneads Ferry and Holly Ridge.

Homeowners in Duplin and Lenoir counties will also see a 9.8% increase.

More inland areas, such as Jacksonville and Richlands, will see a 3.5% increase and coastal areas in counties including Craven and Jones counties will see a 2.5% increase.

The rate increases take effect on new and renewed policies beginning May 1.

 

Reporter Jannette Pippin can be reached at 910-382-2557 or Jannette.Pippin@JDNews.com.