SOUTHEASTERN, N.C.—After months of negotiation, coastal homeowners will end up paying more for insuring their homes this year.
N.C. Department of Insurance (NCDOI) and N.C. Rate Bureau (NCRB) have settled on an increase in homeowners insurance Wednesday, significantly lower than initially proposed. New Hanover, Pender, Onslow and Brunswick County will see an increase of 5.5 percent in homeowners insurance this October.
This is the first increase in homeowners insurance since 2012, when the NCDOI settled with the NCRB on a 7 percent increase.
The road to 5.5
In December, the NCRB’s general manager Ray Evans told Port City Daily the real increase “ought to be about 65 percent” in New Hanover County. Instead, Evans said the NCRB was “gracious” in capping its rate increase proposals at 25 percent.
In order to arrive at an agreed upon rate of increase, the NCRB makes efforts to protect insurance companies from significant loss in extreme or unprecedented weather events.
The settled upon cap is now 5.5 percent, with southeastern counties bearing the brunt of the hike; some western North Carolina counties will see a decrease in homeowners insurance rates of up to 9.4 percent.
Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey said in a press conference Wednesday that he was able to save consumers millions in settling on a statewide average increase of 4.8 percent.
“We fought hard for the people to hold that down and I felt good that we were able to do that at an amount that was less than 5 percent,” Causey said.
He said the NCDOI did agree with the NCRB that an increase was warranted.
“We have to make sure that we’re protecting consumers as well as keeping the insurance industry solvent,” he said.
When the NCRB requested an increase in October, it asked the NCDOI for an 18.7 percent average increase in homeowners insurance, with coastal counties capped at 25 percent.
The settled upon rate is 13.9 percent less than NCRB’s initial statewide proposal and 19.5 percent less than the hike requested in some coastal counties.
According to the NCDOI, for residents in Currituck County in the Outer Banks — an area that will see 5.5 percent —“residents who insure a $200,000 frame home will see an average $120 difference in their annual premium, or $10 per month.”
Johanna Ferebee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @j__ferebee on Twitter