Call to action to oppose significant increase in insurance rates

Published 8:27 am Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Donna Creef is continuing to sound the alarm about the North Carolina Rate Bureau’s significant increase proposal.

Creef, government affairs director for the Outer Banks Association of Realtors, said NCRB has submitted a request to North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey for a 45.1% increase for territory 110, which includes the beaches of Dare and Currituck counties. For territory 130, which includes the inland areas, a 33.9% increase has been suggested.

For example, Creef said that a base rate – which equals $200,000 worth of coverage – for territory 110 is currently $2980 per year; with the increase homeowners would pay $4220. Likewise, in territory 110, someone paying $1775 would see an increase to $2377.

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“These are big numbers,” she said to Kill Devil Hills commissioners on January 15. “Most property owners are going to have a hard time with that.” And, Creef added, the more expensive your home is, the more coverage you need, further driving prices up for homeowners.

Some coastal areas further south are facing an “outrageous” 99% proposed increase, according to Creef.

She stated that, in general, negotiations will take place and a rate will be settled upon. “[The process] seems kind of disingenuous,” Creef explained. “If [for example], you know that a 10% increase is what you really are asking for but you go in and ask for 45 so you really get what you want – that just doesn’t sit right with me.”

Creef has urged municipal boards throughout Dare and Currituck counties to voice opposition for the proposed rate hikes via letters, emails and resolutions to state legislators.

At the meeting, Mayor John Windley made a motion for a resolution opposing the increase. All the commissioners approved.

Concerned citizens are urged to reach out to their local and state legislators, or to reach out to Causey. Comments may also be submitted to NC Department of Insurance by February 2, 2024 via email to: 2024Homeowners@ncdoi.gov or mail: Kimberly W. Pearce, Paralegal III, 1201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1201.

Also at the meeting, Duke Geraghty of the Outer Banks Home Builders Association spoke during public comment to urge commissioners to opt for a 2000 max square footage requirement for cottage courts rather than the 1500 square foot max being suggested by the planning board.

“A 1500 square foot home on the ocean is too small,” Geraghty said. “It’s impractical. That’s not how we do our houses nowadays … With the cost of the land, there’ll be no payback – no return on investment for the developer or buyer of the houses.”

Commissioners will discuss the issue at the regularly scheduled February meeting.

Also during public comment Outer Banks resident Dennis Paul asked that commissioners focus on improving the beach accesses on Fourth Street and Fifth Street.

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