For Immediate Release: December 12, 2011

Insurance Commissioner Rules on Dwelling Property Insurance Rates

Goodwin decreases fire rates, rejects increase in extended coverage rates.

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin has issued an order pertaining to dwelling fire and extended coverage insurance rates.

Goodwin has ordered an overall rate decrease of 7.3 percent for dwelling property fire rates and denied a request from the North Carolina Rate Bureau to raise dwelling extended coverage rates by 36.1 percent. The North Carolina Rate Bureau -- an independent organization that represents all North Carolina property insurance companies -- filed for the rate changes in January 2011.

The order comes after a hearing that began July 25 and ended Oct. 25, 2011. Goodwin served as the hearing officer and considered testimony and evidence from both the Rate Bureau and the Department of Insurance in making his decision.

"After listening to all of the testimony, I found that the requested increase in extended coverage rates for dwelling properties is not warranted. I disapproved that request because it would have led to excessive and unfairly discriminatory rates," Goodwin said. "Additionally, dwelling policyholders will have the benefit of decreased fire rates."

The ordered rates are to go into effect May 1, 2012.

Dwelling fire policies are different from traditional homeowners insurance policies in that they offer fewer coverage options and are sold to properties that would not qualify for a standard homeowners policy. Dwelling fire policies are offered to non-owner occupied residences including rental properties, investment properties and other properties that are not occupied full-time by the property owner. A dwelling fire policy does not typically include liability coverage; extended coverages would generally include coverage for damage to the physical dwelling due to wind, hail, fire, smoke, riot, civil commotion, and aircraft and vehicle damage.

The full order can be viewed on the Department of Insurance website by clicking on this link.