Companies that underwrite homeowners’ insurance policies are seeking another massive rate hike in North Carolina, with coastal areas again taking the brunt of the proposal.
“Rising insurance costs are a real concern and will add to the increasing inability of North Carolinians to realize the dream of home ownership,” said Outer Banks Association of Realtors Government Affairs Director Donna Creef.
“I understand that insurance rates need to accurately reflect the risks, but 45% increases are not reasonable or sustainable,” Creef said.
It’s the first request filed by the N.C. Rate Bureau on homeowners’ insurance policies since a 2021 settlement with the state’s Department of Insurance which raised rates across our entire area of 9.9% and blocked any new rate change proposals until 2024.
The N.C. Rate Bureau represents companies that write insurance policies in the state and is a separate entity from the Department of Insurance.
The filing released late Friday by Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey calls for a statewide average increase of 42.2% effective August 1.
Along the Outer Banks, policies would increase by 45.1% from Carova to Ocracoke. The rest of Currituck, Dare and Hyde would go up 33.9%.
“Coupled with the dwelling rate increase that was filed last year that is still making its way through the process, this homeowners filing represents a double whammy for property owners,” Creef said.
Camden, Chowan, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell, and Washington counties face a 25.6% increase, and Gates County a rise of 30.4%.
Bertie and Martin are in a group of counties that includes Greenville, where the proposed rate increase is 57.8%.
And along the central and southeastern beach areas of the state from Atlantic Beach to the South Carolina border, the companies want an increase of 99.4%, while hitting up areas just inland like Wilmington and Jacksonville for 71.4%.
The request follows some insurance carriers pulling out of the region entirely, including Nationwide which dropped over 10,000 homeowner policyholders in coastal North Carolina last year.
At the same time, owners of rental homes face an increase of more than 75 percent on some new and renewing wind and hail policies, as well as a request to raise fire insurance rates for dwelling policies.
“I urge all Outer Banks residents to submit comments to Commissioner Causey about this latest rate filing,” Creef said.
The process for the homeowners’ insurance rate filing is as follows:
- A public comment forum will be held to listen to public input on the North Carolina Rate Bureau’s rate increase request at the North Carolina Department of Insurance’s Jim Long Hearing Room on Jan. 22 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Jim Long Hearing Room is in the Albemarle Building, 325 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh, N.C. 27603.
- A virtual public comment forum will be held simultaneously with the in-person forum on Jan. 22 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The link to this virtual forum will be: https://ncgov.webex.com/ncgov/j.php?MTID=mb3fe10c8f69bbedd2aaece485915db7e
- Emailed public comments should be sent by Feb. 2 to: NCDOI.2024Homeowners@ncdoi.gov.
- Written public comments must be received by Kimberly W. Pearce, Paralegal III, by Feb. 2 and addressed to 1201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1201.
All public comments will be shared with the North Carolina Rate Bureau. If Department of Insurance officials do not agree with the requested rates, the rates will either be denied or negotiated with the North Carolina Rate Bureau. If a settlement cannot be reached within 50 days, the Commissioner will call for a hearing.