Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners Insurance Policy

Previously reported – September 2018

Homeowners insurance to increase by 5.5 percent on the coast
Following months of negotiation, the N.C. Department of Insurance and the N.C. Rate Bureau have settled on an average statewide increase in homeowners insurance of 4.8 percent. In coastal counties, that increase was capped at 5.5 percent.
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Insurance Commissioner Causey settles homeowners’ insurance rate dispute
Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey announced today the N.C. Department of Insurance has ended the legal dispute with the North Carolina Rate Bureau on its proposal for an 18.7 percent homeowners’ insurance rate increase. Commissioner Causey has negotiated an almost 14 percent lower rate for an average 4.8 percent increase statewide. “I have negotiated a rate that will have minimal impact on the coast yet keep the state’s insurance companies financially sound,” said Commissioner Causey. The 4.8 percent increase will vary according to territory with a cap of 5.5 percent statewide instead of the 25 percent bump on the coast initially proposed by the NCRB. The agreement also covers insurance for tenants and condominiums, which is capped at 12 percent. This rate settlement will save consumers approximately $293 million in the first year alone, compared to the NCRB’s proposed increase.

The NCRB is separate from the NCDOI and is made up of insurance industry representatives. The Rate Bureau filed for the proposed 18.7 percent rate increase November 17, 2017, claiming the increase was necessary because of the increased costs stemming from tornado, severe thunderstorm, and windstorm/hail damage. Commissioner Causey had concerns over the initial filing and set a July 23, 2018, hearing date for the case to be decided if an agreement couldn’t be reached. Over the last several months, the Department and the NCRB have been in litigation while trying to settle the case without the necessity of a long, expensive hearing. The last time homeowners saw an insurance rate increase was in 2012. At that time, the NCRB case was settled for an average statewide increase of 7 percent. The increase will take effect October 1, 2018.
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Insurance commissioner OKs rate increases
Brunswick County home insurance customers will see rates increase in 2018 after the North Carolina Department of Insurance announced a settlement with the North Carolina Rate Bureau. Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey said negotiations that began after he rejected the bureau’s proposed statewide 18.7 percent homeowners’ insurance rate increase ended with an agreement for an average 4.8 percent increase statewide. For Brunswick County, the bureau called for a 25 percent increase on homeowners insurance rates on or near the coast and 23.7 percent everywhere else, plus a renters and condominium owners homeowners insurance jump of 40 percent. Causey’s announcement said the coastal area’s rate increase will capped at 5.5 percent. Causey said more than 9,000 public comments factored into his decision to refuse the rate increase proposal. The increase will take effect Oct. 1, Causey said. Causey said the last time homeowners saw an insurance rate increase was in 2012 when the bureau’s case was settled for an average statewide increase of 7 percent.
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Brunswick County includes three North Carolina Department of Insurance homeowners territories: 120, 140 and 160. All three are designated for homeowners insurance rate increase caps of 5.5 percent and tenant and condominium owners insurance caps at 12 percent, according to an agreement state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey made with the North Carolina Rate Bureau.

Previously reported – February 2019
NC Rate Bureau seeks rate hike
Barely four months after one insurance rate hike, the Rate Bureau is back in front of the North Carolina Department of Insurance with its hand out for more money. To counter that move, the The League of Women Voters® of Dare County and Outer Banks Association of REALTORS® CEO Willo Kelly hosted a room full of people at the Kill Devil Hills Town Hall to provide details behind a December 20 request to raise North Carolina homeowners insurance rates an average of 17.4 percent. Kelly then pointed out that there really has not been enough time to thoroughly evaluate the adequacy of the new rates that went into effect just four and a half month ago. “

North Carolina law (G.S. 58-36-10) sets out a process for setting rates:
.       • Rates or loss costs shall not be excessive, inadequate or unfairly discriminatory.
      • Consideration may be given to the experience of property insurance business           .         during the most recent five-year period for which that experience is available.
.       •
Modeled hurricane losses from more than one hurricane model is required.
.       •
Due consideration shall be given to a reasonable margin for underwriting                         profit and to contingencies.

In North Carolina, the Rate Bureau acts as one insurance company representing all insurance companies in the state. The NC Department of Insurance makes the final decision on the maximum rate that can be used. After the public comment period, North Carolina Department of Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey can do nothing and the proposed rates will become effective October 1, 2019 or deny the filing and call for a hearing. Causey could also negotiate a settlement with Rate Bureau to come up with a different rate. A Public Comment Forum will be held to listen to public input on the rate increase request by the Rate Bureau from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on February 26 in the Second Floor Hearing Room of the N.C. Department of Insurance in the Albemarle Building, 325 N. Salisbury St. in Raleigh.

The filing request can be found in its entirety by going to: http://www.ncdoi.com/PC/Filing_Search.aspx

Search by SERFF number
.     1)
Begin Search
.     2) Accept terms
.     3) Enter the SERFF tracking number NCRI-131761557 in the appropriate field.
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Causey disagrees with proposed homeowners rate increase, sets hearing date
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 February 26th.

There are three ways to comment:
1) 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 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.

2) Emailed public comments should be sent by Feb. 26 to 2018Homeowners@ncdoi.gov.

3) Written public comments should be mailed to Tricia Ford, Paralegal Administrator, to be received by Feb. 26 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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Sounding an Alarm on Homeowner’s Insurance
Homeowners on the barrier island portions of Dare, Currituck and Hyde Counties could face as much as a 30% hike in their insurance rates under a North Carolina Rate Bureau filing, Outer Banks Association of Realtors Chief Executive Officer Willo Kelly warned an audience of about 30 people at a League of Women Voters-sponsored forum on February 13th. Kelly, a longtime watchdog and advocate for the region when it comes to property insurance concerns, said that the N.C. Department of Insurance (DOI) will consider the Rate Bureau’s requested increase following the close of the public comment period on Feb. 26. Rates would go into effect October 1st. At the conclusion of the public comment period, DOI Commissioner Mike Causey can approve the rate filing, do nothing – which, in essence puts the proposed rate into effect — or deny the filing all together. Often, as was the case last year, a settlement agreement is reached between Causey and the Rate Bureau. North Carolina is one of the few states that has an elected insurance commissioner and is the only state that has a Rate Bureau, which is made up of all the companies in the state that are collecting insurance.
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Previously reported – March 2019
N.C. Rate Bureau asks for 17.4 percent rate increase for homeowners’ insurance
The North Carolina Rate Bureau has requested the N.C. Department of Insurance increase homeowners’ insurance rates 17.4 percent effective Oct. 1, 2019. The N.C. Rate Bureau represents the state’s insurance companies and is a separate entity from the N.C. Department of Insurance. The Rate Bureau attests the increase is needed to cover increased losses, hurricane losses and the net cost of reinsurance. Last year, the Rate Bureau requested an 18.9 percent increase in homeowners’ insurance rates, but Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey settled, instead, on an average 4.8 percent rate increase.
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Previously reported – July 2019
Homeowners insurance rate increase hearing date changed
The hearing scheduled for the insurance industry’s proposed statewide average 17.4% homeowners insurance rate increase has been extended one month from Sept. 4 to Wednesday, Oct. 2. Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey says he needs the additional time to review the documents filed by the North Carolina Rate Bureau (NCRB). “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,” Causey said. “The proposed rates appear to be excessive and unfairly discriminatory and I want more time to study the data to ensure our consumers are treated fairly.” The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. in the Second Floor Hearing Room in the Albemarle Building, 325 N. Salisbury St. in Raleigh.

The hearing will be held unless the N.C. Department of Insurance and NCRB are able to negotiate a settlement before that date. The Department of Insurance and NCRB can settle the proposed rate increase at any time during litigation. 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 NCRB filed the average statewide 17.4% increase Dec. 20, 2018. The filing covers insurance for residential property, tenants and condominiums at varying rates around the state. The last Rate Bureau homeowners’ rate filing was in 2017. That year, the NCRB requested an average 18.9% statewide increase in homeowners’ insurance rates, but Causey settled, instead, on an average 4.8% increase.
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Update –
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