Commissioner Causey sets hearing date in dwelling insurance rate hike case

North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey has set Jan. 18, 2022, as the hearing date for the North Carolina Rate Bureau’s proposed 18.7% dwelling insurance rate increase.

“We are not in agreement with the Rate Bureau’s proposed increase filed in December,” Commissioner Causey said. “I want to make sure that the process is transparent and that consumers’ interests are protected while making sure our insurance companies remain healthy so they can pay claims.”

The Rate Bureau is not part of the Department of Insurance. It represents all companies writing property insurance in the state.

The notice of hearing said that some of the data included in the Rate Bureau’s Dec. 14, 2020, filing contained a lack of documentation, explanation and justification of both the data used as well as the procedures and methodologies used.

The hearing is set for 10 a.m. Jan. 18, 2022, in the second-floor hearing room in the Albemarle Building, 325 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh.

The hearing will take place unless the N.C. Department of Insurance and the N.C. Rate Bureau are able to negotiate a settlement before that date.  State law gives the Insurance Commissioner 45 days to issue an order once the hearing concludes.  Once the order is issued, the NCRB has the right to appeal the decision before the N.C. Court of Appeals.  A Court of Appeals order could then be appealed to the N.C. Supreme Court.

The NCRB and DOI can settle the proposed rate increase at any time during the process.

Dwelling insurance policies are not homeowners’ insurance policies. Dwelling policies are offered to non-owner-occupied residences of no more than four units, including rental properties, investment properties and other properties that are not occupied full time by the property owner.

The filing covers insurance for fire and extended coverage at varying rates around the state.  Under the NCRB proposal, the increases would be felt statewide with most consumers seeing a double-digit increase.

The last NCRB dwelling rate increase filing was in 2019 that resulted in a settlement of 4%, which took effect July 1, 2020.

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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.