The state commissioner has requested that insurers not raise prices until after the meeting.
Wayne Goodwin, the commissioner for North Carolina, has stated that any decision regarding increases in homeowners insurance rates will need to be held off until after June 3, 2013, when a public hearing has been set.
The commissioner is seeking the public’s insight before potentially massive increases occur.
According to Goodwin, he and his staff worked throughout the weekend, on top of a great deal of overtime that they have already been putting in, in order to analyze the 1,267 page rate hike request that was made by the North Carolina Rate Bureau. That request would bring coastal area county premiums up by 30 percent.
The homeowners insurance increases statewide would average 17.7 percent, if the request is approved.
Goodwin released a statement regarding this homeowners insurance news at the Insurance Commission Eastern Office in New Bern. There, he explained that the outcome of the preliminary study of the request that was performed by the staff, showed that a great deal of additional examination was required. This study by Goodwin and his team also included the almost 9,000 public comments that had been submitted by the public at a Raleigh comment session on October 17, and those submitted by email and letter from October 3 through October 19.
He said that “Initial review raises concerns that the rate increases requested by the insurance companies may be excessive and unfairly discriminatory.” Goodwin also added that he would be serving as the hearing officer on June 3, and that the meeting will provide the opportunity for experts from the Rate Bureau and from the Department of Insurance to decide whether or not any rate changes are necessary for homeowners insurance in the state.
He explained that “It is the role of the Department of Insurance to represent the public’s interest on this and the department experts believe the requested rate increases are not justified based on the data submitted.”
Goodwin is hoping to be re-elected so that he can start his second term following November 6. The law in North Carolina states that he must act on a homeowners insurance rate increase request within fifty days of its filing or they would automatically go into effect. That said, he maintains that his decision was a matter of doing his job, and was not political strategy.