Legislative Briefing ~ 12.19.17

Legislative Briefing ~ 12.19.17

CALL FOR ACTION – COMMENT NOW ON RATE INCREASE FOR HOMEOWNERS, RENTERS, CONDO and WIND ONLY POLICIES

The NC Rate Bureau submitted a filing to the NC Department of Insurance (NCDOI) last month to increase Homeowners Insurance rates as much as 25% in areas in eastern NC. The filing also includes requests to increase tenants (renters) and condo insurance policies as much as 40%. The proposed homeowners insurance rate increase also impacts policyholders with wind only policies such as those written through the NC Insurance Underwriters Association (NCIUA), commonly referred to as the Beach Plan. This filing does not affect policyholders with Dwelling Policies – those that typically cover second homes, vacation rental homes or year-round rental homes.
Increase requests in this Homeowners Insurance Rate Filing impacts year-round homeowners, condo owners and renters!

The Rate Bureau is requesting the following Homeowners Insurance rate changes based on $200,000 dwelling value with a $1,000 deductible, Protection Class 5/Frame construction to become effective on July 1, 2018:

The public comment period is open now through December 29th.

IT IS IMPORTANT THAT NCDOI HEAR FROM YOU!

PLEASE EMAIL YOUR COMMENTS ASAP TO2017HomeInsurance@ncdoi.gov.
Written comments should be mailed to be received by Dec. 29th to Tricia Ford, 1201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1201

In addition to sharing your personal opinion regarding the impact of the proposed rate increases and requesting that the Insurance Commissioner deny the filing ,it is important to include information specific to the filing.
Feel free to include any of the following TALKING POINTS:
– Based on the data and information included in the 2017 Homeowners Insurance Rate Filing, the NC Rate Bureau’s proposed rate increase requests are unwarranted and unjustified and the Insurance Commissioner should deny the filing.
– The proposed rate increases are excessive and unfairly discriminatory.
– Premium/loss ratios for 2011-2015 do not support rate increases for eastern NC territories.
– The profitability of the NCIUA since 2011 does not support a 25% increase.
– NCIUA Wind only policyholders saw an increase when the Department of Insurance approved forms for a wind only product a few years ago.
– Many policyholders have signed consent to rate (CTR) forms. The NC Department of Insurance should know exactly how many policyholders are rated through CTR and to what extent before there is any consideration of rate increases.
– Proposed rates are heavily weighted on the insurers net cost of reinsurance. In some cases the net cost of reinsurance exceeds base loss costs.
– Current rates are adequate to provide fair and reasonable profit.
– Insurance companies have been applying artificially high inflation rate factors to policy dwelling values that in turn increase deductibles when percentage based. This both lessens the insurers’ exposure and increases profitability. This has not been considered in this filing.
– Insurers have added fees to policies, adding to their profit, which are not reflected in this filing.
– There is a NOAA wind overlay zone in the far western portions of NC. The wind portion of the proposed rate for those territories is up to $473 compared to up to $2,896 in eastern NC.
– NOAA’s 2011 to 2015 severe weather map reports show the majority of severe wind events to be in central and western NC.
– After a lengthy rate filing hearing in 2014, the Department of Insurance found that rates in eastern NC were excessive and ordered a rate decrease of up to 18%. How is it that within 3 years, the NC Rate Bureau’s filing indicates the need for a rate increase of up to 80.5% in eastern NC territories?

After the public comment period closes on December 29th, the Department of Insurance has 50 days to respond to the Rate Bureau. If the Insurance Commissioner does nothing, the new rates will become effective on July 1, 2018. The Commissioner can negotiate a settlement on the filing which in years past has resulted in less than the Rate Bureau’s proposed increases. The NC Insurance Commissioner also has the option to deny the filing which would result in a hearing/trial being held on the filing.
Contact Willo Kelly, OBAR/OBHBA Government Affairs Liaison at (252) 202-7927 or willokelly@gmail.com for more information.

Alligator River Bridge to Close January 10th through January 16th

NCDOT will close the Alligator River Bridge between Tyrrell and Dare counties to all vehicle traffic and boat navigation for one week in January. The closure will be in place from 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 10 through Tuesday, Jan. 16.
The closure will allow crews to perform major renovation work on the bridge’s swing-span drawbridge. Workers will be repairing and replacing electrical and mechanical components located beneath the bridge’s swing span. The work is part of an extensive renovation project designed to extend the life of the 58-year-old bridge. The $16.7 million contract was awarded to Flatiron Constructors of Morrisville, NC back in March 2017.
During the closure, NCDOT will have detour signage and variable message signs in place to guide motorists through the following detour routes:
Motorists traveling east from Columbia should use N.C. 94 South to U.S. 264 East to U.S. 64.
Motorists traveling west from Dare County to Columbia should use U.S. 264 West to N.C. 94 North to U.S. 64.
Motorists traveling to the Outer Banks from areas west of Williamston should use U.S. 17 North to U.S. 158 East.
Motorists traveling from the Outer Banks to points west of Williamston should use U.S. 158 West to U.S. 17 South to U.S. 64 West.
The project will require another week-long closure for the bridge in March 2018. The dates for that closure have not been determined at this time.
For real-time travel information, visit DriveNC.gov or follow NCDOT on Twitter.

Town/County Updates

Dare County– Reminder – Real and personal property and taxes are due by January 5th. They become delinquent after that date and iinterest begins at a rate of 2% for the first month and 3/4 of 1% will be added each month thereafter until paid. Other costs and charges may also be added to the amount you owe.
Payments submitted by mail are deemed received based on the date shown on the postmark affixed only by the U.S. Postal Service. If the postmark is not affixed by the U.S. Postal Service or the postmark cannot be read, payment will be deemed to be received when it is received in the tax office. It is to your advantage to mail your payment several days in advance of the past due date.
More information can be found here.

Southern Shores– The Planning Board met on Monday and approved zoning ordinance text amendments to the Lot Disturbance and Stormwater Management section of Town Code. A public hearing will likely be held at Council’s first meeting in January. The proposed amendment eliminates any fill on a lot in the side setback areas unless the final vertical-to-horizontal slope ratio is equal to or less than 1:3. The ZTA also includes language that gives the zoning administrator the authority to modify an existing lot disturbance and stormwater management permit requirement during the construction process.
For additional information or questions, please contact Town Hall at (252) 261-2394 or email whaskett@southernshores-nc.gov.

Upcoming Meetings

Monday, December 25
Merry Christmas!
Town/County Offices Closed
OBAR Office Closed

Tuesday, December 26
Town/County Offices Closed
OBAR Office Closed

Wednesday, December 27
Town/County Offices Closed

Advocacy, Legislative Briefing