Home Insurance Issue in North Carolina Still Contentious

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  • Late last year, the state of North Carolina made headlines by rejecting the proposed increases for home insurance rates within its borders for the 2015 calendar year. However, now it seems that insurance companies are so unhappy with the decision that they’re going to appeal it with the state’s Court of Appeals. How this plays out going forward is anyone’s guess, but in the meantime it might be wise for insurance agents operating within the state to let policyholders know what’s going on, and how any decision might end up affecting their plans and their bottom lines down the road.

    An industry group representing close to 100 home insurers in North Carolina will file after state Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin rejected proposed rate hikes that would have increased premiums within the state by 25 percent on average, up from just 7 percent the year prior, according to a report from the Insurance Journal. Ray Evans, general manager of the Rate Bureau, said that a decision in the case could take as long as a year to be made by the court.

    What’s at odds here?
    The two sides seem to fundamentally disagree on the proposed increases on people who live in North Carolina’s coastal region, the report said. Insurers are expecting to see more catastrophic losses from homes in this area going forward thanks to the increasing risk of hurricanes on the Atlantic Seaboard. In all, close to 30 percent of homes in North Carolina fall under these conditions, up from 23 percent as recently as 2010. Some insurers are, instead, insisting that owners of properties in these areas sign documents agreeing to pay higher rates than what was authorized by the Insurance Commissioner’s office before they will insure those homes.

    The more insurance agents can do to help people understand what goes on with their policies, whether it’s related to the plans themselves and what they do and do not cover, or simply the ways in which regulation in their states can impact premiums, the better off both parties are likely to be. That’s because consumers will typically have a more robust understanding of their plans, and therefore probably feel better about them overall. Likewise, this can also serve to dramatically improve a customer-agent relationship, which can go a long way toward boosting satisfaction and even retention rates.