The North Carolina Department of Insurance has rejected a hike to homeowners' insurance rates that could have cost policyholders 35 percent more on rates. The judgment comes as the conclusion to a long public discussion about the measure, which was originally proposed in January of this year.
Originally proposed by the North Carolina Rate Bureau on behalf of insurance providers, the increase was met with public outcry and skepticism from experts, who said the rate increase (amounting to 29 percent on average) was unjustifiably steep. According to WKTR News, during a call for public comment more than 10,000 people wrote or emailed the department to voice opposition to the measure.
"After considering all of the evidence and data available, I have determined that no factors or events justified the excessive rates requested by the insurance companies," said Wayne Goodwin, insurance commissioner, in a statement. The department held a public hearing, the first of its kind since 1992, to discuss the pros and cons of raising premiums for policyholders and to determine whether the hike was reasonable based on the bureau's presented factors.
The department arrived at a 0 percent change for homeowners across the state, though that stable figure is reached by fluctuations in areas: Some North Carolina homeowners will pay slightly more, and others slightly less. In Burke County, policyholders will pay 4.5 percent more, which, while less affordable than current premiums, is not the bank-breaking 35 percent the bureau's proposal threatened in some areas.
The story and its conclusion remind homeowners and market experts about the intersection of politics and personal finance, with agencies designed to protect the interests of both consumers and insurance providers. Moving forward, the majority of homeowners in North Carolina should see little change to their current real estate insurance policies.