Outer Banks Association of Realtors CEO Willo Kelly reported that the North Carolina Rate Bureau (NCRB) submitted a Homeowners Insurance Rate Filing to the N.C. Department of Insurance (NCDOI) on Dec. 20. The filing reflects an overall statewide average increase of 17.4% for homeowners, renters and condominium rates. However, NCRB has requested a rate increase of 30% in the homeowner rate in the beach (barrier island portion) areas of Currituck, Dare and Hyde Counties and a 25% increase in the homeowner rate in the inland areas of Currituck, Dare, Hyde and Pamlico Counties.
The data included in the filing indicates the need for a rate increase up to 94%, but the Rate Bureau decided to cap the rate increase at 30% to reduce the impact on policyholders. Filed tenants (renters) and condominium rate increases are between 5% and 15%. Homeowner rates are based on $200,000 coverage, protection class 5 with frame construction.
A portion of the homeowner rate is for wind, and the filing will have an impact on Wind Only policies, including policies in the NCIUA which has commonly been referred to in the past as the “Beach Plan.” Because the wind rate makes up the majority of the overall homeowner rate, an Outer Banks wind only policyholder may be facing a premium increase of over $700 with $200,000 of coverage.
NCDOI will begin the process of reviewing the filing to determine if the filed rate changes are warranted and not unfairly discriminatory or excessive. A public comment period is open now through Feb. 26, 2019. Comments can be emailed to 2018Homeowners@ncdoi.gov or mailed to Tricia Ford, Paralegal Administrator, 1201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1201. A public comment forum will be held on Feb. 26 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the second floor Hearing Room of the NCDOI, located at 325 N. Salisbury Street in Raleigh.
The forum will be a listening session type event, with no response from NCDOI. The public will not have any opportunity to comment after Feb. 26.
If in agreement with the filing, NCDOI Commissioner Mike Causey does not have to respond, and the filing becomes effective Oct. 1, 2019. Causey may deny the filing and call for a hearing or he may negotiate a settlement with NCRB on the filed rates that vary from the rate filing. As with the last homeowner rate filing, Causey can also call for a hearing and reach an agreement with NCRB prior to the hearing being held. New rates just went into effect on Oct. 1, 2018 for homeowner, tenants and condominium policyholders.
The filing can be found in its entirely by going to http://www.ncdoi.com/PC/Filing_Search.aspx, search by SERFF number, Begin Search, Accept terms and enter the SERFF tracking number NCRI-131761557 in the appropriate field.