Greensboro and Guilford County homeowners will face a 3.5% increase in their insurance rate as part of a settlement approved Friday by state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey.
The rate, which goes into effect May 1, is significantly less than the 20% hike sought by the N.C. Rate Bureau in December.
The settlement cancels a public hearing set for Wednesday.
Commissioner Mike Causey also approved an overall 4.3% increase in mobile-home casualty insurance rates, also effective May 1. The bureau requested a statewide average of 19%.
The bureau has said its proposal “is needed to cover increased losses, hurricane losses and the net cost of reinsurance.”
For mobile home fire insurance rate, Causey approved a 6.6% increase compared with the bureau's 19.9% increase request.
The bureau is an independent group representing insurers writing policies in North Carolina. It typically asks for rate increases — some substantially higher in areas prone to damage from natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods and winter storms.
Causey said the difference in the bureau's requested homeowners insurance rate hike and the 4% statewide average increase he approved is about $285 million in premium payments statewide.
“I am glad the Department of Insurance has avoided a lengthy administrative legal battle which could have cost consumers time and money," Causey said.
The bureau’s recent average statewide rate requests have ranged from 17.4 percent for 2019 to 25.6 percent for 2015.
The insurance commissioner, however, seldom agrees to the bureau’s full request, but instead typically approves a lower increase, or sometimes a decrease, for each of the state’s 29 territories as measured by risk.
For the 2018-19 homeowners rates, Causey approved an average increase of 4.8%; the rate bureau had asked for an 18.9% increase.
In February, Causey responded to the bureau's 2019-20 homeowners insurance rate increase request by saying “there is a pervasive lack of documentation, explanation and justification of both the data used, as well as the procedures and methodologies utilized in the filing."
“The proposed rates appear to be excessive and unfairly discriminatory.”
For Winston-Salem and Greensboro homeowners, the rate increase is 3.5.%
The increase is also 3.5% for the area that includes Alamance, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Rockingham, Stokes, Surry and Wilkes counties,
For the areas in Alleghany, Ashe, Davidson, Randolph, Watauga and Yadkin counties, the increase is 1.5%.