Public comment to be held after NC insurance companies ask for 25% rate increase for homeowners

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina insurance companies are asking for a 25 percent increase in insurance rates for homeowners across the state.

It would make the average homeowner’s bill go up a couple hundred dollars a year.

Many homeowners argue that between affordable housing issues and the pandemic, this simply is not the time.

When severe weather hits, homeowners’ insurance is what protects many with repairing damages.

The North Carolina Rate Bureau serves insurance companies that pay the claims.

Right now, they’re asking for a 25 percent statewide average increase in homeowners’ insurance rates.

“We believe it is outrageous and poor timing,” said Wendy Harris, chair of the North Carolina Homeowners Alliance.

The North Carolina Homeowners Alliance is fighting the proposed increase.

“It’s just one of those sort of moments where your jaw drops and you just can’t even believe the request is being made,” said Harris.

She said it’d cause the average homeowner’s bill to go up a couple hundred to several hundred dollars a year.

Roughly 90,000 households in North Carolina are behind on mortgage payments because of COVID-19, according to NCHA.

Harris said no major catastrophes have been connected to homeowners’ insurance this year.

“Why is this year the right year for this?” she asked.

One claim behind the request is increased wind and hail losses from storms.

There’s a public comment hearing this Thursday about the proposal.

Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey will then look at the numbers to see if an increase is warranted to keep the companies healthy without hurting homeowners. He’ll then either agree or disagree with the rate.

Causey’s worked as an insurance agent and agency owner in his career.

Two years ago, the NC Rate Bureau requested a 17.4 percent increase and Causey negotiated it down to 4 percent.

“Our hope is there will be a complete denial for an increase this year, period. We just don’t think it’s the year for an increase of any kind,” said Harris.

People can request to speak at the hearing or email comments. The NC Department of Insurance provided the following information for those who are interested:

  • 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 Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The Department of Insurance is located in the Albemarle Building, 325 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh, N.C. 27603. Proper COVID-19 safety protocols will be enforced.
  • A virtual public comment forum will be held simultaneously with the in-person forum on Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Click here to access the virtual forum.
  • Emailed public comments should be sent by Dec. 10 to: 2020Homeowners@ncdoi.gov.  
  • Written public comments should be mailed to Abby Spann, Paralegal III, to be received by Dec. 10 and addressed to 1201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1201.

CBS 17 did reach out to the NC Rate Bureau and multiple insurance agencies for this story. No one was able to do an interview.

Click here to view territories with NCRB proposed rates.

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