Editorial: There’s still time to comment on homeowners insurance increase, so do it

Published 4:49 pm Saturday, February 23, 2019

If you haven’t yet commented on the proposed homeowners insurance increase, we strongly encourage you to do so. This is a serious issue that demands our attention. Comments will be accepted until February 26, so send them in.

The proposal from the NC Rate Bureau seeks an overall statewide average increase of 17.4% effective October 1, but for many in our coverage area, the proposed increase is 30%. Think about that and how that will impact your household. That’s not just a few dollars here and there and if you own more that one piece of property, it adds up even faster.

The Rate Bureau says it’s needed to cover losses, but there has not been time to assess the increase that was just imposed in October 2018. North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey said, “There is a pervasive lack of documentation, explanation and justification of both the data used, as well as the procedures and methodologies utilized in the filing. The proposed rates appear to be excessive and unfairly discriminatory.”

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While Causey has already announced that he disagrees with the proposed rate and set a hearing, it is still imperative that our voices are heard on this. Even those who don’t own property will undoubtedly feel the effects of yet another rate increase. Renters – both long term and short term/vacation – will at some point have higher rates passed on to them from homeowners who have to shoulder increased costs. In an area where affordable housing is already difficult to find, this will surely not make things any easier.

There are three ways to make your comment: at the forum at the N.C. Department of Insurance’s Second Floor Hearing Room on Feb. 26 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Albemarle Building, 325 N. Salisbury St. in Raleigh; in writing to Tricia Ford, paralegal administrator, to be received by Feb. 26, 2019, address to 1201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1201 or by email. The last option is surely the easiest and ensures that the comments be received on time. Take the time to do this. Make sure it is understood by those in decision-making positions exactly how this will impact you and your family. Email comments to 2018Homeowners@ncdoi.gov.

The League of Women Voters of Dare and Outer Banks Association of REALTORS CEO Willo Kelly held a recent forum explaining the increase in more detail. For those unable to attend, a recording is available at https://lwvdarenc.org/2019/02/16/homeowners-insurance-rate-filing/

This isn’t the only increase the Rate Bureau has brought before the North Carolina Department of Insurance. A request has also been filed to raise rates on homeowners policies for mobile homes. The statewide average sought is a 19% increase for MH-C and 19.9% for MH-F. This increase would take effect Feb. 1, 2020. Public comment is open until March 20 for this rate increase request. Public comments may be mailed to Mary Sanders, Administrative Specialist, 1201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1201 by March 20 or emailed to 2019MH@ncdoi.gov by March 20. Again, take advantage of the comment period and make your voice heard.

These increases do not include the so-called consent to rate increases, so if you’re stuck with one of those, the increase could be more. Stay informed and pay attention to this matter. We will continue to report on it, but be proactive and reach out to the insurance commissioner and your elected officials. That’s what they’re there for.