DOI News

For Immediate Release: Contact:
April 15, 2009 Kristin Milam
Johanna Royo
DOI Appeals Superior Court Decision on Beach Plan Issues
Not Seeking to Stop Court's Stay on Beach Plan Surcharge and Deductible During Appeal Process
RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced that the Department of Insurance has filed an appeal of the Wake County Superior Court order addressing Beach Plan deductibles and surcharges. The Department's appeal, in part, takes issue with the order's findings that the Department did not have the authority to act swiftly and without a public hearing in the Nov. 21, 2008 decisions by former Insurance Commissioner Jim Long.
However, the Department is not seeking to stop the Court's stay on the Beach Plan deductible and surcharge increases during the appeals process.
One of the Department's concerns is that the order's concept of insurance ratemaking does not allow rate settlements without first holding public hearings across the board - even in cases where the rate filings would benefit consumers.
"From my point of view, it appears that the Court's order would prevent the Insurance Commissioner and the Department of Insurance from settling insurance rate cases which actually reduce insurance rates for citizens and businesses, and instead force each rate case to go to a full blown hearing," said Commissioner Goodwin. "Not only would that cause a severe hardship on citizens who would be entitled to a rate cut as determined by the Insurance Commissioner, based on evidence from experts and data, but it could affect every type of insurance filing that the Department receives, which includes automobile, homeowners, workers comp, title and health insurance and rate deviation or discount filings. Requiring a hearing on all such filings would, in many cases, harm consumers across North Carolina."
"As Insurance Commissioner, it is my job to do two very important things as it relates to insurance: To ensure fair, accessible insurance for all North Carolinians and to ensure that the insurance industry that operates in North Carolina is well-regulated, competitive, and solvent. This is especially true during these challenging economic times," said Commissioner Goodwin.
-- NCDOI --