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NC homeowner insurance increase on hold ... for now

Elected officials and members of the real estate industry in Southeastern North Carolina pushed back against the proposal, saying raising rates could negatively impact a booming home market. Ray Evans, the general manager of the N.C. Rate Bureau ...

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State, industry to talk about proposal to bump coastal rates up by 25 percent By Adam Wagner GateHouse Media RALEIGH -- Your homeowners' insurance isn't increasing just yet.Negotiations between the N.CDepartment of Insurance and N.CRate Bureau over proposed changes -- including hikes in many coastal areas -- have entered the next stage following N.CInsurance Commissioner Mike Causey's announcement earlier this month that he had denied a Rate Bureau proposalThe more-than-2,000 page filing laid out the justification for raising rates an average of 18.7 percent across the state, with most coastal areas in Southeastern North Carolina in line for a 25 percent increase."After hearing and reading the more than 9,000 comments from residents across the state and studying the figures in the filing, it is now necessary to hold a hearing to reach a resolution that will make the most financial sense for our residents and insurance companies," Causey said in a release announcing the denial.The rate bureau, which represents the interests of insurance companies throughout the state, believes an increase is necessary in order to guarantee insurance companies remain able to cover claims in the near futureElected officials and members of the real estate industry in Southeastern North Carolina pushed back against the proposal, saying raising rates could negatively impact a booming home market.Ray Evans, the general manager of the N.CRate Bureau, said the denial was a part of the negotiation process."We had to start it somewhere," he said, "and our overriding idea is that we need to come up with what we believe is an appropriate answer to 'What should rates be down the road?' Based on the data, the best minds we could put together from an economic, an actuarial standpoint, that's what we think the number is."The last rate increase in North Carolina came in 2012, when a 17.7 percent average increase was negotiated to 7 percentA proposed increased in 2014 did not result in any change.Causey's decision earlier this month was celebrated by local stakeholders, including the real estate industry."We will use the next six months to educate area residents about this issue, and attend the July meeting," Taylor Oldroyd, the CEO of the Cape Fear Realtors, said in a release"At this time in our cycle of economic growth, rate increases could undercut progress we've made."Discussions are ongoing between the Rate Bureau and the Department of Insurance about when the two parties might be able to sit down and negotiateEvans said Causey's statement left him optimistic a settlement could be reached."It was factual, matter-of-fact, and suggested that a settlement was possible," he said"We're hopeful that everybody will go into settlement negotiations willing to conclude the matter."If the sides are unable to reach a compromise, the hearing will happen July 23 in Raleigh, with a final order possibly issued in October.Reporter Adam Wagner can be reached at 910-343-2389 or Never miss a story Choose the plan that's right for you. Digital access or digital and print delivery. Subscribe Now Sign up for daily e-mails Sign up SubmissionsStory ideasLetters to the editorCalendar eventsCelebrations

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