- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Local town boards, residents and the ABCPOA are vocal about a proposed homeowners insurance increase for this region of the state—they don’t want it, and they don’t think it’s fair.
And they want concerned residents to register their comments before the deadline.
A public hearing by the North Carolina Department of Insurance is scheduled for Oct. 17 for the proposed hike that targets the southeastern region of the state for the largest increases.
Comments about the proposal can be submitted until Oct. 19.
On Oct. 1, the North Carolina Rate Bureau, which isn’t affiliated with NCDOI, filed for an increase averaging 17.7 percent statewide, requested to take effect June 1, 2013. The proposed increase is higher for Brunswick County—about 30 percent for territory 8 encompassing the county.
The filing will be reviewed by NCDOI “experts” to determine what, if any, rate adjustments are warranted, according to a press release issued by the department Oct. 3. If the two parties can’t agree on rate changes, N.C. Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin will call for a public hearing for both parties to present their cases for any rate adjustments.
This is the first homeowners insurance rate filing during Goodwin’s administration, according to NCDOI.
“I’m not only concerned about the property-rate increase, but what really angers me most of all is this doesn’t have anything to do with the wind and hail,” Ocean Isle Beach resident John H. Smith Jr. said Tuesday.
Smith, a retired independent property casualty agent, says he’s already paying 150 percent more in premiums in southeastern North Carolina than he would in his former hometown of Charlotte.
“It’s a big disparity between here, the Piedmont and the mountains,” Smith said. “We don’t have any more fire, thefts or vandalism than they do in those areas. Why are we paying more in basic homeowners premiums, excluding wind and hail, than they are in Charlotte and mountains? We’re getting cheated, absolutely cheated.”
Smith said NCDOI needs to do something to make rates more equitable across the state.
Unlike 2008, when a 19.5 percent statewide homeowner rate hike was filed, NCDOI is inviting public comments from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 17 in the Jim Long Hearing Room of the Dobbs Building, 430 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh.
Written public comments can be mailed to: NCDOI, Attn: Bob Mack, Property & Casualty Division, 1201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1201; or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for submitting written comments is Oct. 19.
Board member Ron Sorice with the Alliance of Brunswick County Property Owners Association voiced objection to the proposed increase as well.
“First of all, we’re obviously not in favor of it, that’s for sure,” he said.
He said they’ve contacted all of their board members with a straightforward message to “inundate NCDOI with letters.”
“I think we’ve got a pretty good start to the campaign,” Sorice said Tuesday.
He said they’re also asking members to contact local state representatives Frank Iler and Sen. Bill Rabon “to make sure these guys are aware of what we’re doing as a community group to forestall any increase in insurance.”
Sorice said one of the things they’re having a difficult time with is “justification for the increase at that level. We’re continuing to work on trying to understand exactly increases here and increases further inland.”
For the Winston-Salem, the increase amounts to about 1.2 percent, while for Charlotte it’s about 8.5 percent, Sorice said.
“We’re trying to get a handle on why there’s such disparity,” he said.
“The coastal regions take a beating when it comes time for a rate increase insurance-wise,” Sorice said.
Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email email@example.com.