A compromise agreement approving a 2.2 percent average statewide homeowners premium increase has been reached between the North Carolina Insurance Commission and the North Carolina Rate Bureau. The Bureau, an independent organization representing homeowners insurance companies in the state, initially requested an average statewide increase of 12.1 percent. Insurance Commissioner Jim Long estimates that this settlement saves homeowners a potential $110 million in premiums.
Initial reaction to the Bureau’s rate filing, which came into the department earlier this month, was mixed; in some territories, no increases were requested, but other territories, particularly those along the coast, faced huge rate jumps.
“The original filing requested increases in the coast and beach territories of 50 percent, and that was down from earlier indications of more than 70 percent increases,” Long, who signed the settlement agreement, said. “Homeowners in these areas were outraged, and I heard complaints from a good many of them. While I understand these concerns, the evidence does show that an increase in rates is warranted in our coastal areas. I’m pleased to say, however, that those increases are much smaller than the 50 percent requested.”
Beach territories (defined as anything east of the Intracoastal Waterway) will see an increase of 15 percent; territories on the coast (the remaining areas, west of the Intracoastal Waterway, in all coastal counties) receive a 10 percent increase. The last increase for these territories was a 30 percent hike in 2002.
Territories in Charlotte, the Triad and the Triangle saw no increase in rates. Minor decreases were approved for some western counties and 5 and 10 percent increases will be implemented in some counties in the east. All approved rates are effective Aug. 1.
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