By Ben Rappaport
Homeowners in southeastern North Carolina would have to pay substantially more for insurance under a new proposal.
The North Carolina Rate Bureau last week proposed an average statewide increase of 42.2% for homeowners’ insurance. In Bladen, Columbus and Robeson counties, the proposed increase is higher.
Columbus County would see the highest increase at 63%, while Bladen and Robeson counties would see a 56% spike.
Scotland County has a proposed increase of 40%, which is below the state average.
Increasing the rates is necessary because insurance companies face higher costs for materials and labor to complete home repairs, and because there are more properties in coastal areas at risk of significant losses, according to Jarred Chappell, chief operating officer for the Rate Bureau.
The Rate Bureau, which represents companies that write insurance policies in the state, wants the proposed rates to become effective Aug. 1. But North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey will have the final say on whether to approve the increases.
“In the past, on every filing that’s come before me whether it’s automobile or homeowners’, I have said no because in my opinion the numbers that came to me were not justified,” Causey told CBS 17 in Raleigh.
In November 2020, the Rate Bureau requested an overall average increase of 24.5%. Through a settlement with Causey, the average rate increased by 7.9%.
The latest proposal will undergo a public comment period.
- A public comment forum will be held at the North Carolina Department of Insurance’s Jim Long Hearing Room from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 22. Located in the Albemarle Building, 325 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh.
- A virtual public comment forum will be held simultaneously. Here’s the link: https://ncgov.webex.com/ncgov/j.php?MTID=mb3fe10c8f69bbedd2aaece485915db7e
- Emailed public comments should be sent by Feb. 2 to 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, NC 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, then Causey will call for a hearing.
In December, auto insurance rates increased by 4.5% and motorcycle liability rates increased by 2.3%. Both will see the same increase later this year under a settlement reached between the NCDOI and insurance companies.