Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey today announced that the North Carolina Department of Insurance is off to a tremendous start after his first 100 days in office.
“My first 100 days in office at the Department of Insurance has been a tremendous experience,” said Causey. “I am very pleased with our transition from the past administration and look forward to accomplishing much more for the people of North Carolina in the coming years.”
Commissioner Causey’s top three goals coming in to his leadership role were focused on protecting the consumer by keeping insurance premiums low, increasing access to consumer assistance on insurance matters and beginning reform measures to modernize North Carolina’s insurance system.
“I am committed to getting our “Help” number to the public – 855-408-1212 – so consumers can get help on any question they may have about insurance, said Causey. “In fact, just in the last month, our Consumer Assistance department reports that we have saved NC consumers over $1.5 million through reinstated policies, paid claims, and insurance settlements.”
Commissioner Causey has also been emphasizing his role as State Fire Marshal, and how that position ties together with insurance regulation. “When you think of all the roles we have that keep families safe through our Safe Kids NC and Injury Prevention initiatives, and protecting their property through our insurance regulation,” said the Commissioner, “it’s a very rewarding job.”
Commissioner Causey listed several other areas where NC Department of Insurance was making progress.
- Consumer Protection:
- The Criminal Investigations Division employs 20 sworn law enforcement officers dedicated to investigating claims of insurance fraud and criminal concerns associated with bail bonding, motor clubs, collection agencies and premium finance companies. Since January 2017, the Department has added one new full-time investigator and proposed legislation to add more full-time staff to protect consumers against insurance fraud.
- In 2016, the Criminal Investigations Division recovered nearly $5 million for victims of fraud. Already in 2017, one fraud case has resulted in recoveries of over $11 million.
- The North Carolina Department of Insurance has also undertaken organizational changes to strengthen regulatory oversight of bail bondsman and bail bond runners along with the creation of the Bail Bond Regulatory Division.
- Low Insurance Premiums:
- NCDOI’s Actuarial Division discovered numerous errors and inconsistencies in the dwelling insurance rate filing made Nov. 30, 2016, putting a halt to a filing that would have resulted in an average increase of +19.6% for North Carolina homeowners.
- Commissioner Causey rejected the auto insurance rate filing made on Feb. 1, 2017 by the NC Rate Bureau, which requested an overall statewide average increase of 13.8 percent for 2017. An administrative hearing has been scheduled beginning Sept. 11, 2017 at the Department of Insurance to review the filing.
- Safety of all North Carolinians:
- The NC General Assembly agreed to provide $1 million dollars of relief funding for Volunteer Fire Departments by passing Session Law 2016-124. The funding was allocated to the Department of Insurance to provide grants to volunteer fire departments for repairs of damages caused by Hurricane Matthew, the wildfires in the western part of the state, Tropical Storms Julia and Hermine that were not covered by federal assistance or by the proceeds of insurance policies. These grant funds have gone out to fire departments this spring.
- The Office of State Fire Marshal has issued 1,497 certificates to fire and rescue personnel, held 50 fire and rescue training classes and performed 152 department inspections across the state since Jan. 1, 2017.