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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Two weeks before an election deciding whether he keeps his job, North Carolina’s insurance commissioner is telling companies they’ll have to prove they should get to increase premiums by an average of nearly 18 percent.

The move by Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin on Tuesday at least postpones the rate increase insurers had wanted to take effect on June 1. Goodwin says he’ll hold a hearing June 3.

The Democrat seeking re-election to a second four-year term says the proposed rates appear excessive.

The insurance companies are represented by the North Carolina Rate Bureau. The group’s director and attorneys did not respond to a request for comment.

The last homeowner’s insurance rate increase was in 2008, before Goodwin took office. Insurance companies sought nearly 20 percent statewide and got 4 percent.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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