NC Insurance Commissioner discusses disaster preparation following tornadoes in Harkers Island

CARTERET COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – After two tornadoes hit a community here in the east, disaster preparation was the topic at a round table Wednesday but the focus quickly shifted to the looming homeowner’s insurance rise.

Two tornadoes damaged businesses and homes in Harkers Island last week and now residents want to make sure they’re prepared should something like this happen again.

“The tornado was a bit devastating to some people and some people on the island are still trying to recuperate,” resident Robert Buckley said.

At the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum, North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey and other organizations met with residents to discuss ways to stay ready before the storm hits.

“My goal is always to help people understand that everyone is in a flood zone and everyone needs to assess their risk to loss from flooding,” Founder of Nowpreneur Charlotte Hicks said.

During the roundtable, people were able to speak up about concerns and ask questions about home and financial preparation. Buckley said his home was flooded in the storm and although the meeting covered flood and wind insurance, he’s now worried about his homeowner’s insurance as a huge rate increase looms.

“People are not getting taxed out of their home,” Buckley said. “They actually are going to be insured out of their house, which means they aren’t going to able to pay their insurance rates.”

Causey said when an insurance company wants to raise rates, they have to send justification to him, which he usually turns down.

“I only have authority under state law to say one of two words: yes or no,” Causey said. “And I can tell you I’ve always said no to every rate request that’s come before me since I’ve been commissioner.”

Causey said he hopes after Wednesday’s roundtable residents will be more informed on ways to avoid damage when the next storm hits.