Special to Iredell Free News

RALEIGH — N.C. Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey has rejected insurance companies’ average 42.2 percent proposed increase in homeowners’ insurance rates.

“I haven’t seen the evidence to justify such a drastic rate increase on North Carolina consumers,” Commissioner Causey said. “The Department of Insurance has received more than 24,000 emailed comments on this proposal, with hundreds more policyholders commenting by mail. Scores more consumers spoke during a public comment forum. North Carolina consumers deserve a more thorough review of this proposal. I intend to make sure they get that review.”

Proposed rates by the North Carolina Rate Bureau on behalf of the insurance companies writing policies in the state range from 4.3 percent in some of the mountain counties to 99.4 percent in some of the beach areas.

“Homeowners were shocked with the high amount requested by the insurance companies, and so was I,” Causey said.

In the notice for hearing, Causey called the insurance companies’ proposed increase “excessive and unfairly discriminatory.”

The N.C. Rate Bureau, which represents companies that write insurance policies in the state, is not a part of the Department of Insurance. The Rate Bureau was created by the General Assembly in 1977. Any insurance companies writing homeowners’ insurance or personal automobile insurance policies in North Carolina must be a member of the Rate Bureau.

Commissioner Causey has set a hearing date for October 7 at 10 a.m. State law gives the Insurance Commissioner 45 days to issue an order once the hearing concludes.