Homeowners insurance rate filing forum Feb. 13

Published 11:11 pm Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Submitted by the Outer Banks Association of REALTORS®

The League of Women Voters® of Dare County is joining forces with the Outer Banks Association of REALTORS® and CEO Willo Kelly to address in a public forum February 13 the North Carolina Rate Bureau’s (NCRB) recent rate filing submission. The forum is being held at 7 p.m. at the Kill Devil Hills Town Hall with OBAR CEO Kelly presenting.

On December 20, while many businesses were shutting down and residents were preparing for the impending holidays, the NCRB submitted a homeowners insurance rate filing to the NC Department of Insurance (NCDOI). While the filing reflects an overall statewide average increase of a 17.4% for homeowners, renters and condominium rates, the NCRB requested a shocking rate increase of 30% in the homeowner rates in the beach (barrier island portion) areas of Currituck, Dare and Hyde counties.  It also includes a 25% increase in the homeowner rate in the inland areas of Currituck, Dare, Hyde and Pamlico counties.  The data included in the filing actually indicates the need for a rate increase up to 94%; however, the Rate Bureau decided to cap the rate increase at 30% to reduce the impact on policyholders. Filed tenants (renters) and condominium rate increases are between 5% and 15%. Homeowner rates are based on $200,000 coverage, protection class 5 with frame construction.

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A portion of the homeowner rate is for wind; therefore, the filing will have an impact on Wind Only policies, including policies in the NCIUA which has commonly been referred to in the past as the “Beach Plan.” Because the wind rate is a majority of the overall homeowner rate, an Outer Banks wind only policyholder may be facing a premium increase of over $700 with $200,000 of coverage.

What does this mean for YOU as a homeowner in the affected areas?

  • The increase in the homeowners insurance rate affects year-round resident policyholders, wind only policyholders, condo and renter policyholders.
  • The unwarranted increased cost of homeowners’ insurance impacts the affordability of housing and the ability of a policyholder to make their mortgage payments. This impacts families that live in our year-round neighborhoods.
  • The filing does not include the number of policyholders or amounts charged over the manual rate under “consent to rate.”

According to Willo Kelly, CEO of the Outer Banks Association of REALTORS®, “The proposed rate increases are excessive, unwarranted and unjustified.”  Said Kelly, “Rate increases just went into effect October 1, 2018 and there has not been enough time to thoroughly evaluate the adequacy of the newly effective rate increases.  This does not even take into consideration how many policyholders are paying premiums based on consent to rate and how much over and above the manual rate has been charged.”

With the public comment period ending February 26, residents are encouraged to attend this forum on February 13. After the end of the comment period on the 26, the NCDOI will begin the process of reviewing the filing to determine if the filed rate changes are warranted and not unfairly discriminatory or excessive.

What can OBX residents do?

“Residents are strongly urged to reach out to the NCDOI to express their displeasure with this proposed increase,” says the OBAR CEO.  Comments can be emailed to 2018Homeowners@ncdoi.gov or mailed to Tricia Ford, paralegal administrator, 1201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1201. Kelly and the League of Women Voters®, Dare County urge the public to attend the February 13 forum to learn more about the negative impact this proposed rate increase could have on OBX residents.

After the public comment period ends on February 26, if in agreement with the filing, NC DOI Commissioner Mike Causey does not have to respond and the filing becomes effective October 1, 2019. Causey may deny the filing and call for a hearing or he may negotiate a settlement with NCRB on the filed rates that vary from the rate filing. As with the last homeowner rate filing, Causey can also call for a hearing and reach an agreement with NCRB prior to the hearing being held. New rates just went into effect on October 1, 2018 for homeowner, tenants and condominium policyholders.

The filing can be found in its entirety by going to http://www.ncdoi.com/PC/Filing_Search.aspx, search by SERFF number, Begin Search, Accept terms and enter the SERFF tracking number NCRI-131761557 in the appropriate field.

For more information, contact the Outer Banks Association of REALTORS® at 252-441-4036 or the League of Women Voters®, Dare County, at https://lwvdarenc.org/contact-us/ .  The Homeowners Rate Increase Filing Forum will take place 7 p.m., February 13 at the Kill Devil Hills Town Hall located at 102 Town Hall Drive, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948.  This forum is open to the public.