Proposed homeowner insurance rates average 42.2%

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(The Center Square) – Eight months into a pandemic, a negotiated settlement helped North Carolina homeowners against a staggering insurance rate increase.

They’re hopeful again in 2024.

Last Wednesday’s request by the North Carolina Rate Bureau of the state Department of Insurance for average statewide homeowners’ insurance rate increases of 42.2% – including 71.4% in the coastal areas of Brunswick, Carteret, New Hanover, Onslow and Pender counties – was made public by Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey on Friday at the close of business. Effective date, if granted, is Aug. 1.

The Rate Bureau got about one-third of its ask back in November 2020. That’s when the pitch totaled an overall average increase of 24.5%. Causey, the first Republican insurance commissioner in state history, won a second term that month and negotiated an escalation of 7.9%.

If the Department of Insurance doesn’t agree with the requested rates, a release says, “the rates will either be denied or negotiated with the North Carolina Rate Bureau. If a settlement cannot be reached within 50 days, the commissioner will call for a hearing.”

Residents can give input in person, at a virtual forum or via email. The ways to do that are here.

In no surprise, the biggest increases are along the coast. Beach areas with requested rate increases of 99% or higher are in Brunswick, Carteret, New Hanover, Onslow and Pender counties – essentially from the midpoint of the coast to the South Carolina border. Farther north toward the Outer Banks, the beach areas of Currituck, Dare and Hyde counties has an increase rate ask of 45.1%.

Coastal areas of Beaufort, Camden, Chowan, Craven, Jones, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrell and Washington counties have a proposal of 25.6%.

Eastern North Carolina counties encompassing Greenville and Goldsboro were among those at 57.8%. Cumberland (Fayetteville) and Sampson (Clinton) were each 45.5%, while neighbors Bladen (Elizabethtown) and Robeson (Lumberton) were 56.1%.

Among the major metros the city of Charlotte and counties of Alexander, Iredell, Mecklenburg, Stanly, Wilkes and Union have a proposed increase of 41.3%; the cities of Durham and Raleigh and counties of Durham and Wake have requests for 39.8% increases; the cities of Greensboro and Winston-Salem and counties of Alamance, Davie, Caswell, Forsyth, Guilford, Rockingham, Stokes and Surry are proposed to go up 36.6%.

The smallest increase of 4.3% is in the mountain counties of Haywood, Madison, Swain and Transylvania. Asheville (Buncombe) and Boone (Watauga) are within 11 counties where the increased request is 20.5%.

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