Commissioner Causey disagrees with insurance companies' proposed homeowners' rate increase: sets hearing date

RALEIGH- North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey has set Sept. 4, 2019, as the hearing date for the North Carolina Rate Bureau's proposed statewide average 17.4 percent homeowners' insurance rate increase.

"There is a pervasive lack of documentation, explanation, and justification of both the data used, as well as the procedures and methodologies utilized in the filing," Commissioner Causey said in his hearing notice to the NCRB. "The proposed rates appear to be excessive and unfairly discriminatory." The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. in the Second Floor Hearing Room in the Albemarle Building, 325 N. Salisbury St. Raleigh.

The hearing will be held unless the N.C. Department of Insurance and NCRB are able to negotiate a settlement before that date. State law gives the Insurance Commissioner 45 days to issue an order once the hearing concludes. Once the order is issued, the NCRB has the right to appeal the decision to the N.C. Court of Appeals. A Court of Appeals order could then be appealed to the N.C. Supreme Court.

The Department of Insurance and NCRB can settle the proposed rate increase at any time during litigation.

The NCRB filed the average statewide 17.4 percent increase on Dec. 20, 2018. The filing covers insurance for residential property, tenants, and condominiums at varying rates around the state. Under the NCRB proposal, the biggest increases would be felt along the coast. The NCRB has requested certain areas in western North Carolina receive small rate decreases. These areas include Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, and Macon counties. Rates for tenants and condominium insurance would see proposed decreases in other counties.

The NCRB represents insurance companies that write the state's homeowners', auto and workers' compensation policies. It is a separate entity from the Department of Insurance.

The public comment period for the proposed rate hike remains open until Feb. 26, 2019. There are three ways to comment:

  • A Public Comment forum will be held to listen to public input on the Rate Bureau's rate increase request at the N.C. Department of Insurance's Second Floor Hearing Room on Feb. 26, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Department of Insurance is in the Albemarle Building, 325 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh, N.C.
  • Emailed public comments should be sent by Feb. 26, 2019, to 2018Homeowners@ncdoi.gov.
  • Written public comments should be mailed to Tricia Ford, Paralegal Administrator, to be received by Feb. 26, 2019, and addressed to 1201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1201.

All public comments will be shared with the N.C. Rate Bureau.

The last Rate Bureau homeowners' rate filing was in 2017. That year, the NCRB requested an average 18.9 percent statewide increase in homeowners' insurance rates, but Insurance Commissioner Causey settled, instead, on an average 4.8 percent increase.

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