Many states in recent months have taken up the task of looking at the how insurers charge residents for their auto insurance policies, because a few studies during that time have shown that these policies may not be as beneficial to drivers as they could be. As such, legislators in the state of North Carolina are likewise beginning their own efforts in this area, and how they operate will almost certainly be unique within the U.S.
North Carolina currently runs its auto insurance rules through what is known as a “collective” system, according to a report from the Raleigh News and Observer. Through that system, the state’s Rate Bureau collects a multitude of data from all auto insurers operating within its borders, and then brings that information to the state’s Insurance Commissioner for approval on any changes insurers want to put into place. As a consequence of this, proponents say, North Carolina currently has the sixth-lowest auto insurance rates in the nation.
However, there is now a push from insurers to overhaul the way this system works, the report said. The group FAIR NC, which is comprised of auto insurers, say it wants its members to be able to opt out of the collective system and go directly to the state insurance commissioner’s office for rate increase approvals. However, it should be noted that not all companies that insure drivers in North Carolina are part of this group.
What might this mean?
Republicans in the state are now trying to push through a bill that would allow these companies that freedom, but critics argue that it’s just an effort to boost what they’re able to charge consumers by diluting the regulatory power of the commissioner’s office, the report said. On the other side of the argument is the fact that if there’s a state limit on insurance rates, companies that are more exposed to risk might end up losing money no matter how many safe drivers they have in their portfolios.
Insurance agents will certainly need to keep a close eye on this issue, because it could significantly impact the ways in which consumers in North Carolina view their policies, particularly if prices start to go up. This could prompt them to start shopping around for other, more affordable coverage, but it could end up being less beneficial than they think.