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Rate Bureau Proposes 30% Coastal Homeowners Insurance Rate Hike

Managing Editor

NORTH CAROLINA -  The North Carolina Rate Bureau has filed a request for insurance rate adjustments calling for a 30% increase for coastal homeowners insurance rates. 
The document was filed by the NCRB with the North Carolina Department of Insurance on Monday October 1.
According to the North Carolina Business Alliance for a Sound Economy, NCBASE, the filing identifies a "state average rate level change of 17.7%" but the proposed increases in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender are 30%. The rates are scheduled to take effect on new or renewal policies on or after June 1, 2013.
For the coastal beaches referred to as "Territory 8" for a current rate $1522 the filed rate increase would rise to $1979 (30% increase).
For inland New Hanover, Pender, Brunswick a current rate of $1050 under the filed rate would rise to $1365 (30% increase). Note that these rates are for $75,000 coverage.
According to BASE, "These proposed increases follow the rate increases that coastal homeowners have faced in every rate cycle since 1992. In 2009, 63 counties saw rates increase. Mainland New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender, Onslow Counties faced 30% increases at that time and the beach areas faced 17.5% increases. Keep in mind that rates in our coastal counties are already 2-3 times higher than inland counties for the same perils: fire, theft, etc. Additionally, coastal homeowners all have separate wind policies on top of the higher rates."
Legislation spearheaded by Sen. Harry Brown and passed during the 2012 General Assembly session provides the public input in this process.
For the first time, "a filing by the Rate Bureau shall be open to public inspection immediately upon submission to the Commissioner. All property insurance rate filings shall be open to the public. At least 30 days before a notice of hearing issues, the Department shall receive comments from the public regarding a property insurance rate filing. The comments may be provided to the Department by e-mail, mail, or in person at a time and place set by the Department. Insurance rates increases proposed in 2008 to the North Carolina Department of Insurance opened the door for insurance companies to raise some homeowner’s rates as much as 30%. While homeowners in central and western counties saw their rates go down.
Many have argued with the position of the Rate Bureau that coastal areas should pay more due to the potential for hurricane damage while others note that flooding, tornadoes and even hurricanes have impacted inland areas across the entire state over the years.
A hearing will be annouced  and the Department of Insurance will be required to hear public comments.
To learn more, visit NCBASE online at www.ncbase.org or the NC Department of Insurance website at www. ncdoi.com