RALEIGH: Homeowners erupt over 25 percent insurance hike - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

NC homeowners erupt over proposed insurance hike

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

Homeowners and the state's Insurance Commissioner are both angry about the insurance industry's request  for a huge 25.3 percent rate increase just  a half year after getting a 7 per cent increase.

The rate increase would vary by territory, with a requested effective date of Aug. 1.

"We're being placed between a rock and a hard place," said Durham homeowner Carolyn Rogers-Stone at a public comment session Friday. "Some of us have to make major decisions when it comes to health care, whether we can eat, put gas in the car, and this is just another burden on us."

Many homeowners attending a public forum Friday were frustrating, saying that they just can't afford such a hefty increase in homeowner insurance rates. Deputy Insurance Commissioner Bob Mack listened to their complaints.

Durham homeowner Candida Yoshikai said, "Stand between me and them and not allow them to do that to us while we're hanging on by a thread."

The insurance industry filed a document that is nearly 1,200 pages saying prices for insurance are too low.

"This is what the industry needs to appropriately price the homeowners products and be able to pay for claims," said Ray Evans Jr. of the North Carolina Rate Bureau.

Evans said "substantial windstorms, tornadoes, hail storms" that have been costly to insurers, and he said the industry paid almost the same amount in claims in 2011 as it took in in premiums.

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin was stunned by the request, noting that the industry got an increase in July.

"I am appalled that the insurance companies would request another increase just six months later," Goodwin said in a statement earlier this month.

The commissioner has until February to make a decision. If the commissioner decides to go to a public hearing, it will happen sometime this summer.

Public comments on the rate increase proposal can be made by email until Jan. 31.

Written public comments will be accepted through Jan. 31. Written comments should be mailed to: NCDOI, Attn: Bob Mack, Property & Casualty Division, 1201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1201; or emailed to 2014homeowners@ncdoi.gov.

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