Special to Iredell Free News

RALEIGH — North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey has set a hearing date for the North Carolina Rate Bureau’s proposed 24.5 percent homeowners’ insurance rate increase.

“The data in the filing has not convinced me that such a drastic increase is necessary,” said Commissioner Causey. “My goal is to find a rate that will make financial sense for our residents and keep our insurance companies healthy enough to pay claims.”

The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. on September 20 in the Second Floor Hearing Room in the Albemarle Building, 325 N. Salisbury Street, Raleigh.

The hearing will be held unless the N.C. Department of Insurance and the N.C. Rate Bureau are able to negotiate a settlement before that date. State law gives the Insurance Commissioner 45 days to issue an order once the hearing concludes. Once the order is issued, the NCRB has the right to appeal the decision before the N.C. Court of Appeals. A Court of Appeals order could then be appealed to the N.C. Supreme Court.

The NCRB and Department of Insurance can negotiate a settlement at any time during litigation.

The NCRB filed the average 24.5 percent homeowners’ increase on November 9. The filing covers insurance for residential property, tenants, and condominiums at varying rates around the state. Under the NCRB proposal, the increases would be felt statewide with most homeowners seeing a 25 percent increase.

The NCRB, which is not a part of the Department of Insurance, represents insurers that write the state’s homeowners’ policies.

The Department of Insurance held a public comment forum both in person and via WebEx regarding the NCRB rate filing on December 10. The department also received more than 6,500 emailed comments on the proposed rate increase.

The last NCRB homeowners’ rate filing was in December 2018 for a statewide average increase of 17.4 percent. Commissioner Causey negotiated a rate 13.4 percentage points lower, resulting in a statewide average increase of 4 percent.

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