Special to Iredell Free News

RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Insurance has ended its legal dispute with the North Carolina Rate Bureau on its proposed 18.7 percent dwelling insurance rate increase, averting a potentially costly administrative battle with insurance companies. This means the hearing scheduled for January 18, 2022, is canceled.

“I am happy to announce that North Carolina consumers will save nearly $33 million a year in premium payments compared to what the Rate Bureau had requested,” Causey said. “I am also glad the Department of Insurance has avoided a lengthy administrative legal battle which could have cost consumers time and money.”

Dwelling Insurance

On December 14, 2020, the Rate Bureau, which represents companies writing property insurance in North Carolina and is not a part of the N.C. Department of Insurance, proposed a 18.7 percent statewide overall increase in dwelling insurance rates. After studying the data, Causey negotiated a settlement for an overall statewide increase of 7.6 percent, which results in no more than a $25 increase in premium on the base rate.

Dwelling insurance policies are not homeowners’ policies. Dwelling policies are for owner-occupied residences of no more than four units, including rental properties, investment properties and other properties that are not occupied full time by the property owner.

The increase will take effect on new and renewed policies beginning November 1.

Mobile Home Insurance

Causey has set January 18, 2022, as the hearing date for the Rate Bureau’s proposed overall statewide average of 24.9 percent increase for MH-F (Fire) policies and an overall statewide average of 11.3 percent increase for MH-C (Casualty) policies.

“We are not in agreement with the Rate Bureau’s proposed increases filed December 14, 2020. The next step, according to statute, is to set a hearing date,” Causey explained. “It is now necessary to hold a hearing to reach a resolution that will make the most financial sense for our residents and insurance companies.”

The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. 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 Rate Bureau 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.

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