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FIRST ON 3: Beach homeowner insurance going up almost 20%

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RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin signed a settlement agreement today with homeowners insurance companies allowing an overall statewide average rate increase of 7 percent on July 1.

The rate for the beach area of Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender Counties will go up by 19.8 percent. Homeowners in the coastal area of those counties will go up by 8.6 percent. Bladen and Columbus County homeowners will see an almost 10% increase.

The insurance companies, represented by the North Carolina Rate Bureau, had requested an overall statewide average rate increase of 17.7 percent before the election on Oct. 1, 2012.

The difference between the requested and settled rates amounts to $237 million in savings to policyholders according to Goodwin.

Potential hurricane played a large role in the decision to hike rates along the Cape Fear Coast, according to Goodwin.

The last homeowners insurance rate filing occurred in 2008 when the insurance companies requested a 19.5 percent statewide average increase. A settlement agreement allowed for a 4.05 percent statewide average increase to go into effect in May 2009.

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