Residential insurance companies want to raise their premium rates by an average of 25 percent. The N.C. Department of Insurance will hold a public hearing on the issue today.
It will be up to Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin to decide whether a rate increase is excessive, inadequate or unfairly discriminatory.
The North Carolina Rate Bureau represents all 150 residential insurance companies in the state. Last year the Department of Insurance and the Rate Bureau agreed to the rates rather than going to a hearing.
But Rate Bureau General Manager Ray Evans says premiums are still lagging behind the cost of coverage.
“The rate level has been inadequate for some period. If we were to receive the full amount would get it to an adequate point, in our view,” Evans says.
Evans says he's not optimistic the full amount would be approved. He says the companies he represents might make different decisions on how to deal with the issue.
“If there's a consistent inadequate premium, companies will have to make some sort of adjustment,” says Evans.
“They might decide that Virginia looks like a better place to do business, or South Carolina than North Carolina. Ultimately, if any product is priced inappropriately, eventually there will be a lack of availability.”
The state Insurance Department collected public comments in January. Today, agency experts will represent the public's interests.