For Immediate Release: October 23, 2012

Goodwin Calls for Hearing on Homeowners Insurance Rate Request

Initial review raises concerns that the rate increases requested by the insurance companies may be excessive and unfairly discriminatory.

RALEIGH -- Initial review raises concerns that the rate increases requested by the insurance companies may be excessive and unfairly discriminatory.

Read the full of notice of hearing.

The insurance companies, represented by the North Carolina Rate Bureau, have requested an overall statewide average increase of 17.7 percent for homeowners insurance rates.

The hearing, which is open to the public, is scheduled to begin on June 3, 2013, at 10 a.m. at 430 N. Salisbury St. in Raleigh.

Commissioner Goodwin will serve as the hearing officer and listen to experts from the Department of Insurance and the Rate Bureau to decide what rate changes, if any, are warranted.*

The Department of Insurance’s role is to represent the interests of the public. After an initial review of the filing and comments submitted by the public, Department experts believe the requested rate increases are not justified based on the data submitted. The following concerns, among others, may be raised at the hearing:

A public comment period on the rate filing was held from Oct.3-19 to engage the public in the ratemaking process. The Department of Insurance received approximately 8,800 emailed or mailed comments, and approximately 35 people made comments in-person during a public comment session held on Oct. 17.

The filing is available for public review on the Department’s website. To view the entire filing, go to http://pserff.ncdoi.net/pc.html and enter the Serff Tracking Number NCRI-128708881.

During Goodwin’s administration, there have been no approved homeowners insurance rate increases. The last homeowners insurance rate filing occurred in 2008 when the insurance companies requested a 19.5 percent statewide average increase. A settlement agreement allowed for a 4.05 percent statewide average increase to go into effect in May 2009.

*If the Rate Bureau wishes to appeal the Commissioner’s decision, it can do so through the court system, and companies can raise rates while awaiting an appeals decision. The difference in the ordered rate and the implemented rate must be held in escrow. If the Rate Bureau loses its appeal, the escrowed money must be refunded to policyholders who paid too much.

--NCDOI--