Hearing discussed 18.7% NC homeowners insurance rate hike request

FILE - This June 4, 2015, file photo, shows a sign indicating a site has been sold in a new home development in Nashville, Tenn. One week after the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates from record lows, the average on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage went the other way: It dipped to 3.96 percent from 3.97 percent last week, mortgage giant Freddie Mac said, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Homeowners in North Carolina will see a major rate hike for homeowners insurance in 2018 if the North Carolina Rate Bureau gets their way.

The NCRB filed notice with the North Carolina Department of Insurance asking for a statewide average increase in rates of 18.7 percent, Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey announced in November.

A public comment forum was held Tuesday at the NCDOI’s hearing room on the second floor of their building located at 325 N. Salisbury Street in Raleigh.

The rate increases would take effect next year and many of them are significant.

The rate increase request is the first one the NCDOI has received from the Rate Bureau since 2014. The homeowners insurance hearing was the first in more than 20 years, officials said.

The last time the Rate Bureau’s request resulted in a rate increase was in 2012 when they asked for a 17.7 percent increase. The hike was settled at an overall rate of 7 percent.

“Honestly, most of us around here are just making it work as it is.  An increase like that, it’s almost like groceries every week,” said Israel Edwards, a Raleigh resident.

The North Carolina Rate Bureau is asking the State Department of Insurance for the increase. How much varies depends on where in North Carolina you live.

In Wake and Durham Counties, the proposed increase is 21.9 percent. In Cumberland, Johnston and Nash counties, the increase would be 25 percent.

“Well, you know, it’s based on a lot of different things, like the hurricanes.  The statisticians will see whether or not it should go up to this level,” said Michelle Osborne, the Department of Insurance chief deputy.

Past ice storms could also impact insurance rates.

According to officials, all public comments will be shared with the Rate Bureau as well as the NCDOI. If NCDOI officials disagree with the requested hikes, they will be negotiated with the Rate Bureau. A hearing will then be called if no agreement can be reached within 50 days.

As required by law, a public comment period is required by law to give the public time to address the proposed hike. The public will have two other ways to leave comments:

Email – comments should be sent by Dec. 29 to 2017HomeInsurance@ncdoi.gov

Written comments – comments should be mailed to Tricia Ford to be received by Dec. 29 and addressed to 1201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699

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