NORTH CAROLINA - Homeowners insurance base rates may go up again under a new plan from the North Carolina Rate Bureau. If approved, the new rates would go into effect in August.
Homeowners insurance rates went up last July. But most homeowners haven't seen the effects of those increases unless they've renewed their insurance. The requested rate changes range from -2.7 percent to +35 percent.
Retired Air Force member Tom Hoover has lived in his home in Emerald Isle for the past 20 years. He said homeowners insurance has never been an issue until recently.
"It's absolutely ridiculous that the prices are going to go up again. We have people here that live on a fixed income," Hoover said.
Last July, the rate went up 19 percent in the western Carteret County beach area. The North Carolina Rate Bureau is asking for a 35 percent increase in the same area.
"People are not going to be able to buy or invest. The prices on these houses will go up. Therefore, people will not be coming to the beach," Hoover said.
According to the N.C. Rate Bureau's general manager, the group had asked for an increase last year. They ended up compromising with North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin on a lower rate.
"We've had two really bad years comparatively speaking in 2010 and 2011 because of tornadoes, hail storms and severe thunderstorms. So that's another component of this. The recent experience has not been very good," Hoover said.
Evans said the N.C. Rate Bureau has been changed rates five times in the last 15 years.
"We made two changes. One is beginning to file homeowner insurance rates on a yearly basis starting with this one. The second part is, sooner or later we have to close this gap to what we believe is appropriate premium than what's being charged," Evans said.
Click here to look at a full list of territories (PDF file).
A public comment session will be held on Friday, Jan. 24, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Jim Long Hearing Room of the Dobbs Building, located at 430 N. Salisbury St. in Raleigh.
Written public comments will be accepted from Jan. 3 through Jan. 31. Written comments should be mailed to:
Attn: Bob Mack, Property & Casualty Division
1201 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1201