January 6, 2014

Companies seek another rate
hike on homeowners’ insurance

By IRENE NOLAN



Just six months after it was granted an increase in homeowners’ insurance rates, the North Carolina Rate Bureau, which represents the interests of insurance companies, has asked for another increase.

Under the new request, the insurance companies want homeowners rate increases of 25 percent statewide.

Some areas would see reductions of 2.7 percent, according to the North Carolina Department of Insurance, but some property owners on the coast would see increases of 35 percent.

The request for another increase was filed on Friday afternoon, Jan. 3. They would take effect on Aug. 1, 2014.

This latest request for an increase did not sit well with Department of Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, who promised a fight with the insurance companies.

“New homeowners insurance rates went into effect in July 2013. I am appalled that the insurance companies would request another increase just six months later,” Goodwin said in a new release on Friday afternoon, Jan. 3. “I believe the insurance companies should withdraw this rate filing immediately. If they do not, the insurance companies should expect a full hearing on this matter; I will not entertain any settlement negotiations.”

Goodwin said in the release that the filing will be reviewed by Department of Insurance experts to determine what, if any, rate adjustments are warranted. If NCDOI and the N.C. Rate Bureau do not initially agree on the proposed rate changes, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin will call for a public hearing in which both parties would present their cases for or against rate adjustments.

Goodwin noted in the news release that he especially took offense “at the companies’ concerted efforts to file this request late on a Friday afternoon, when they think the public won’t be paying attention.”

“I urge North Carolina homeowners to take advantage of the public comment period and let their insurance companies know what they think about the notion of another homeowners insurance rate increase.”

The filing is available on the Department of Insurance website. Go to pserff.ncdoi.net/pc.html and enter the Serff Tracking Number NCRI-129361028. There will be a public comment session on Friday, Jan. 24, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Jim Long Hearing Room of the Dobbs Building, 430 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh.

Written comments will be accepted from Jan. 3 through Jan. 31. Mail them to: NCDOI, Attn: Bob Mack, Property & Casualty Division, 1201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1201; or e-mail [email protected].



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