Legislative Briefing ~ 11.22.17

Legislative Briefing ~ 11.22.17


OBAR/OBHBA was notified yesterday that the NC Rate Bureau submitted a Homeowners Insurance Filing representing an 18.7% average increase statewide. The homeowners filing will impact those with homeowners insurance policies – not dwelling policies. Homeowner policies typically cover properties that are primary residences; those homes that are owner-occupied.

Below is the press release. Nowhere in the release is a link to the filing and it is not linked on the NC Rate Bureau’s website’s home page. Concerns have been expressed to NC DOI regarding the challenge to comment on the filing if the public was not given access to the filing. NCDOI sent the following instructions to access the filing/associated documents.

Click this link which will take you to the Property and Casualty Division Filing Search feature.
-Click on the “Search by SERFF Tracking Number of Company Name” menu bar.
-Click on the “Begin Search” menu button.
-Read the SERFF user agreement and click on the “Accept” button.
-Under “Business Type”, click the down arrow and select “Property and Casualty”
-In the “SERFF Tracking Number” field, type in the following number: NCRI-131271722

While the statewide average is 18.7%, the increase would be capped at 25% for coastal communities if the filing is approved. The Rate Filing shows an “indicated need” for a 67 to 80+% increase for the barrier island portions of NC.
OBAR/OBHBA is in the process of formulating talking points and a response to the 1,052 page Rate Filing. Look for those in your inbox soon!

Press Release: NC Rate Bureau Asks for 18.7 Percent Rate Hike for Homeowners Insurance – from NCDOI

RALEIGH — Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey today announced that the North Carolina Rate Bureau has filed notice with the NC Department of Insurance asking for a statewide average increase in homeowners insurance rates of 18.7 percent for 2018. The NC Rate Bureau represents the homeowners insurance companies in the state in asking for this increase.
This rate filing is the first homeowners insurance rate filing the Department of Insurance has received from the Rate Bureau asking for an increase in rates since 2014. That filing resulted in the first homeowners insurance hearing in over 20 years with the Insurance Commissioner finally deciding on a “No Change” decision on behalf of policyholders.
The last time a homeowners insurance rate increase request from the Rate Bureau resulted in higher rates for homeowners was in 2012. The Rate Bureau asked for a 17.7 percent increase, then after negotiation settled at an overall statewide average of 7 percent.
A public comment period is required by law to give the public time to address the Rate Bureau’s proposed rate increase. There are three ways to provide comment:
A Public Comment forum will be held to listen to public input on the Rate Bureau’s rate increase request at the NC Department of Insurance’s Second Floor Hearing Room from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 12, 2017. The Department of Insurance is located in the Albemarle Building, 325 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh, NC.
Emailed public comments should be sent by Dec. 29, 2017 to: 2017HomeInsurance@ncdoi.gov
Written public comments should be mailed to Tricia Ford to be received by Dec. 29, 2017 and addressed to: 1201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1201
All public comments will also be shared with the NC Rate Bureau. If Department of Insurance officials do not agree with the requested rates, they will be negotiated with the NC Rate Bureau. If a settlement cannot be reached within 50 days, a hearing will be called.
Settlements have been reached on rate filings in the past but if the case goes to a hearing, the hearing officer will rule on rates and any appeal would go through the court system. The rates set in these cases represent the highest amount allowable for all companies to charge.

Flood Insurance Reform Legislation Passes the House

Last week, the House voted 237 – 189 to pass the House flood insurance reform package. This was a compromise package with several concessions secured in favor of policyholders. However, there is much work to be done on the Senate side, both to address concerns remaining in the House package and to make proactive improvements for policyholders to the NFIP. The House package still includes a provision which would revise rates within two years to reflect a structure’s distance to water. It is important to keep in mind that given House Financial Service Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling’s fundamental opposition to the NFIP, an important goal was to address the worst provisions of the House bill and get a long-term reauthorization moving, which now prompts the Senate to act.
It is unclear at this time whether the Senate will consider the House package. The House package still includes a provision which would revise rates within two years to reflect a structure’s distance to water. The Senate has indicated a much more favorable tone towards other policyholder-friendly reform measures, although none of the Senate bills have been considered by the Senate Banking Committee yet. Both the Cassidy-Gillibrand bill (Flood Insurance Affordability and Sustainability Act) and the Kennedy-Menendez bill (SAFE NFIP Act) are strong pieces of legislation that provide a more stable NFIP for the policyholder according to the Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance, based out of Louisiana. A short term extension before the December 8 expiration will likely be needed simply because there is not much time left on the legislative calendar.

Coyote Conflict Management Workshop Scheduled

The NC Wildlife Resources Commission will present a Coyote Conflict Management Workshop on Wednesday, December 6th from 6 to 7:30 p.m. This event will be hosted by the Town of Southern Shores. The event is free and open to the public and will take place at the Pitts Center located at 5375 N. Virginia Dare Trail, Southern Shores, NC 27949.

Town/County Updates

Dare County– At the Board of Commissioners meeting this week, Commissioners approved a request from Dare Storage LLC to amend the zoning text to add group developments to the list of uses allowed in the Skyco Neighborhood Commercial District on Roanoke Island and another request from Outer Banks Dare Challenge LLC to amend the zoning text to add residential recovery and treatment centers to the list of uses allowed in the Highway 345 Business Zoning District on Roanoke Island.

The Board also approved a reimbursement resolution presented by Finance Director David Clawson for debt issuance related to the Nags Head Beach Nourishment maintenance project. The resolution states the County’s intention to proceed with the project, issue the debt, and reimburse itself for expenditures that occur prior to the debt closing. Nags Head will pay 50% of the project costs and the other half is paid with occupancy tax proceeds set aside specifically for beach nourishment projects. Nags Head plans to bid the project in early 2018 with construction taking place in summer 2018 or summer 2019 depending on schedules of dredge companies.

Commissioners scheduled a public hearing for December 4th to solicit input on a proposed amendment to the County’s Code of Ordinances to allow members of the Board of Adjustments to reside anywhere in Dare County. Currently, only residents living in the unincorporated areas may serve. Planning Director Donna Creef said that removal of the residency limitation may allow for easier recruitment of volunteers.

Duck– Town Council will hold public hearings to consider the following zoning ordinance text amendments at 7 p.m. at their meeting on December 6th:
• Proposal to amend the Zoning Ordinance by clarifying the approval process for stealth antennas and updating standards for small wireless facilities consistent with recent State legislation.
• Application for a conditional use permit to apply the Village Commercial Development Option to a project involving the renovation of the existing two-bedroom residence, construction of a two-car garage, and construction of a mixed-use building with studio/showroom, office, and two-bedroom apartment at 102 Scarborough Lane.
You may contact Director of Community Development Joe Heard for more information about these proposals at (252) 255-1234 or jheard@townofduck.com.

Kitty Hawk– The beach nourishment project in Kitty Hawk is complete. Great Lakes Dock and Dredge has completed pumping sand and demobilized their equipment. Sand fencing installation continues and dune planting will begin in the spring.

In the News

Nag Head to Renourish 10 Miles of Beach

Upcoming Meetings

Thursday, November 23 & Friday, November 24
Thanksgiving Holiday – Town/County & OBAR offices closed




Advocacy, Legislative Briefing