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August hearing set for insurance rate change request

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RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) -- Homeowners and insurers will have to wait until hurricane season for a hearing on a proposed change in home insurance rates that would send rates up an average of 25 percent across the state.

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin has ordered a public hearing for Aug. 6 in Raleigh.

Last month the NC Rate Bureau, which represents the state's insurers, requested the rate change that could send rates up 35 percent for most coastal areas. Some areas, though, including much of Wilmington, Leland and Burgaw, could see a slight decrease if the proposal is approved as requested.

Goodwin, who has publicly opposed the rate proposal, will serve as the hearing officer and determine what, if any, changes should be made. Experts from the NC Rate Bureau will speak on behalf of the insurance companies, while experts from the NC Department of Insurance will represent the public.

Members of the public will not get to speak at the hearing. The Department of Insurance did accept public input last month. The department says it received more than 10,000 emailed or mailed comments, and about two dozen people made comments during a session Jan. 24.

Based on that input, NCDOI experts believe the requested rate increases are not justified. According to a news release, NCDOI's concerns are:

·The filing uses hypothetical data, rather than actual data, when calculating costs including those for the net costs of reinsurance and trended modeled hurricane loss costs.
·The filing lacks necessary data, documentation and explanations to meet statutory burden of proof for rate increases.
·Old data is used in the filing when more when more recent data should be available and included in the analysis.
The filing is available for public review on the Department’s website.

Click here to view the entire filing.

An average 7 percent rate increase took effect in July. Insurers say they're trying to catch up on decades of what they call "inadequate" pricing while anticipating potential payments in 2016 and beyond.

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