Insurance commissioner rejects industry request to raise homeowner’s rates

EDITOR’S NOTE: The original version of this story included data from and a link to a chart provided by the NC Department of Insurance showing the ordered rates effective June 1, 2015. The NCDOI later informed us some of that data it provided was incorrect and provided an updated chart with the corrected information, which shows decreases in homeowner’s rates for all areas of our five-county area, though some are not as large as initially reported. We apologize for any confusion.

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Homeowners in southeastern North Carolina should expect lower insurance rates starting next summer. It comes after North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin rejected the insurance industry’s request to raise homeowner’s insurance rates by an average of about 25 percent. Instead he has ordered a zero percent statewide overall average change effective June 1, 2015.

Home insurance is something inland homeowner Lucy Lee says is a priority.

“It’s certainly not something we would live without,” Lee said.

But Lee says occasionally they’ve had to make some changes because of rate increases.

“We have dropped some things and lowered some things so that we could keep it within cost,” Lee said.

On the coast Alix Huckabee says she’s seen 12 years of increases, which can add up when you have multiple properties.

“Well it’s obviously a lot, lot higher here than it is in town. So, when we have several rental properties in the area, it impacts not just our home that we live in, but quite a few properties that we have as well,” Huckabee said.

Both of these homeowners can expect little to no increase this summer.

Goodwin says after hearing 3,000 pages of testimony from the insurance companies he said no to a 25 to 35 percent increase.

“The rates I have ordered are the result of the most thorough inspection of North Carolina homeowners insurance rates in more than 20 years,” Goodwin said in a statement. “After considering all of the evidence and data available, I have determined that no factors or events justified the excessive rates requested by the insurance companies.”

According to the Department of Insurance, beach areas in Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties will see their rates drop 5.6 percent, while some inland areas (called Eastern Coastal) of those counties will see a decrease of 1.0 percent. Insurers had wanted to increase rates in those areas 35 percent. Western Coastal areas of Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties, which are even further away from the coast, will see a 18.0 percent drop in rates, instead of the proposed 1.9 percent decrease. Columbus County homeowners, who were facing a 35 percent hike, will see their rates go down 5.6 percent instead, while the rate for homes in Bladen County will drop 9.5 percent instead of a proposed 22.6 percent increase.

Click here to see the rate changes by territory

The ordered rates vary by geographic territory and type of insurance. On average, homeowners insurance rates are to decrease by 0.3 percent, renter’s insurance rates are to increase by 11.2 percent, and condo owner’s insurance rates are to increase by 8.1 percent, the Department of Insurance said in a news release.

Click here to read the full order

The decision comes nearly a year after the NC Rate Bureau, which represents insurance companies, filed a request to raise rates by an overall average of 25.6 percent, while some homeowners along the coast faced and even greater increase. Goodwin immediately called for public input and a hearing on the request. It was the first hearing on homeowners insurance rates since 1992.

It is a decision, Huckabee and Lee appreciate.

“Wahoo,” Huckabee said. “I was very happy.”

“It means a lot,” Lee said.

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