North Carolina Rejects Proposed 18.7% Homeowners Rate Increase

January 22, 2018

The Commissioner of Insurance for North Carolina says a recent rate increase of 18.7 percent proposed by North Carolina insurers is unwarranted and has set a hearing date for later this year to resolve the matter.

“We are not in agreement with the [North Carolina] Rate Bureau’s proposed increases filed Nov. 17, 2017. The next step, according to statute, is to set a hearing date,” said North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey in a statement. “After hearing and reading the more than 9,000 comments from residents across the state and studying the figures in the filing, it is now necessary to hold a hearing to reach a resolution that will make the most financial sense for our residents and insurance companies.”

The NCRB filed the average 18.7 homeowners increase Nov. 17, 2017. 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 of western North Carolina receive small rate decreases. These areas include Haywood, Cherokee, Mitchell rand Avery counties. Anson, Montgomery, and Richmond counties would also see small rate decreases.

The NCRB represents insurers that write the state’s homeowners policies. It is a non-profit unincorporated rating bureau separate from the North Carolina Department of Insurance (NCDOI).

The NCRB also represents auto and workers compensation insurance companies.

Causey said the hearing for the NCRB’s proposed homeowners’ rate increase would be held July 23, 2018 unless the NCDOI 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. This means the order could be issued in October 2018.

Once the order is issued, the NCRB has the right to appeal the decision before the N.C. Court of Appeals. A Court of Appeals order could then be appealed to the N.C. Supreme Court.

The NCRB and NCDOI can settle the proposed rate increase at any time during litigation.

The NCDOI held a public comment forum regarding the NCRB rate filing Dec. 12, 2017. Six people attended the forum, including Rep. Bob Muller, R-Brunswick, and Sen. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort. The department also received comments via email and U.S. mail through Dec. 29, 2017.

The last NCRB homeowners rate increase filing was in 2014 that resulted in an order of “no change” from then Commissioner of Insurance Wayne Goodwin.

In 2012, the NCRB requested a 17.7 percent increase, which was settled for an increase of 7 percent that took effect in 2013.