Anger over proposed homeowner’s insurance rate increase for residents in the east

NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) – A homeowner’s insurance rate increase may be coming for residents in North Carolina – with steep increases proposed for the coast.

On January 3rd, Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey announced that the state’s rate bureau filed a rate filing with the North Carolina Department of Insurance and said that public comments have to be received by Friday.

Claudia Roach says a rate hike will have a greater negative impact on low-income individuals and senior citizens such as herself.

“I think they’ve done a lot of research on trying to get retired people to come to this area, well they’re not gonna come with that kind of information because they are on a fixed income and they don’t have the money to do that either so I think they are just shooting themselves in the foot,” says Roach.

The agency is asking for an average statewide increase in homeowners’ insurance rates of 42.2%, but the beach areas of Carteret and Onslow counties could see a 99.4% increase.

Causey says the proposal is a result of inflation and the current state of the economy.

“When you have fuel costs, excessive fuel costs as we are dealing with today and have been for several years, people cannot afford to pay $4 to $5 a gallon for diesel fuel, $3 or $4 for gasoline,” says Causey.

Causey says if the Department of Insurance does not agree with the requested rates, they will either be denied or negotiated with the North Carolina Rate Bureau and if a settlement cannot be reached within 50 days, he will call for a hearing.

Roach says the increase could force her out of the home she’s owned in Craven County for the past 20 years.

“You know before I moved in this house, I did some research on could I afford it and how it would go you know, with the amount of money I had coming in, that hasn’t increased one bit and I decided I could live here but now if they do this, I may have to move,” says Roach.

The rate bureau has asked for the rates to become effective on August 1st.

Residents can see the specific table of proposed homeowners’ rate increases across the state at www.ncdoi.gov.

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