December 13,  2011

UPDATE: Insurance Commissioner
rules on dwelling property insurance rates

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin has issued an order pertaining to dwelling fire and extended coverage insurance rates.

Goodwin has ordered an overall rate decrease of 7.3 percent for dwelling property fire rates and denied a request from the North Carolina Rate Bureau to raise dwelling extended coverage rates by 36.1 percent.

The North Carolina Rate Bureau—an independent organization that represents all North Carolina property insurance companies— filed for the rate changes in January, 2011.

Dwelling fire policies are different from traditional homeowner’s insurance policies in that they offer fewer coverage options and are sold to properties that would not qualify for a standard homeowner’s policy. Dwelling fire policies are offered to non-owner occupied residences, including rental properties, investment properties, and other properties that are not occupied full-time by the property owner. A dwelling fire policy does not typically include liability coverage.

Extended coverages would generally include coverage for damage to the physical dwelling due to wind, hail, fire, smoke, riot, civil commotion, and aircraft and vehicle damage.

A increase in the rates for non-owner occupied dwellings could have had a significant impact on the Outer Banks with its high number of rental properties.

The order comes after a hearing that began July 25 and ended Oct. 25. Goodwin served as the hearing officer and considered testimony and evidence from both the Rate Bureau and the Department of Insurance in making his decision.

“After listening to all of the testimony, I found that the requested increase in extended coverage rates for dwelling properties is not warranted. I disapproved that request because it would have lead to excessive and unfairly discriminatory rates,” Goodwin said. “Additionally, dwelling policyholders will have the benefit of decreased fire rates.”

The ordered rates are to go into effect May 1, 2012.

The full order can be viewed on the Department of Insurance website at:

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