Week after election, homeowners insurance companies request 25 percent rate hike on Outer Banks

A house on Parker Street in Kitty Hawk fully engulfed in flames. [Photo by Matt Jenkins]

Homeowners insurance rates along the Outer Banks and throughout northeastern North Carolina could increase by 25 percent next summer under a proposal submitted by the industry to state regulators.

The request was announced exactly one week after state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey won a second term over former commissioner Wayne Goodwin.

Causey, a Republican, announced Tuesday the North Carolina Rate Bureau has requested a statewide average increase of 24.5 percent to take effect August 2021.

All but two of the state’s insurance territories would increase by 25 percent, including territory 110 (Currituck, Dare and Hyde beaches); 130 (Currituck, Dare, Hyde mainland); 150 (Beaufort, Camden, Chowan, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrell, Washington); 170 (Gates, Hertford) and 180 (Bertie).

Parts of counties in southeastern North Carolina would only be hit with a 15 percent hike, while four counties in the far southwest corner of the state would see a 23 percent increase.

Causey said one of the driving factors behind the request is that North Carolina has experienced increased wind and hail losses stemming from damaging storms.

Goodwin, the current chairman of the N.C. Democratic Party, posted a tweet last Tuesday warning that an announcement about rate hike request was being withheld until after the election.

Other than posting a news release about the request on the N.C. Department of Insurance website and emailing it to media outlets around the state, the department has not shared the announcement on any of its social media pages.

The last request by insurance companies was for 17.4 percent in December 2018, which was eventually negotiated down to four percent.

The rate bureau is not part of the N.C. Department of Insurance, but represents companies that write insurance policies in the state.

The state and insurance companies can either agree with the rates as filed or negotiate a settlement on a lower rate. If a settlement cannot be reached within 50 days, the commissioner will call for a hearing.

A public comment period is required by law to give the public time to address the Rate Bureau’s proposed rate increase.  There are four ways to provide comments:

  • A public comment forum will be held to listen to public input on the Rate Bureau’s rate increase request at the N.C. Department of Insurance’s Second Floor Hearing room on Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The Department of Insurance is located in the Albemarle Building, 325 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh, N.C. 27603. Proper COVID-19 safety protocols will be enforced.
  • A virtual public comment forum will be held simultaneously with the in-person forum on Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The link to this virtual forum will be: https://ncgov.webex.com/ncgov/j.php?MTID=m28717b65acc9281b45e4c7bd66151e39
  • Emailed public comments should be sent by Dec. 10 to: [email protected].   
  • Written public comments should be mailed to Abby Spann, Paralegal III, to be received by Dec. 10 and addressed to 1201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1201.

All public comments will be shared with the N.C. Rate Bureau. 

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.