North Carolina Hearing Discusses Raise in Car Insurance Rates

Posted on Jul 17, 2008
WRAL Channel Five out of Raleigh, Durham, and Fayetteville reports that a hearing has begun regarding auto insurance rates in North Carolina. During the hearing, which began on June 30, the insurance industry’s organization, the North Carolina Rate Bureau, will request to raise car insurance rates on average of 13 percent across the state. The Rate Bureau originally filed this request in February of 2008. Currently, North Carolina has the sixth lowest auto insurance rates in the country.

The session, which should last between four and six weeks, is being presided over by State Insurance Commissioner Jim Long. He will ultimately decide whether or not to increase rates in the state of North Carolina.

Officials from the State Department of Insurance (NCDOI) claim that they will fight any increase, arguing that the new rates would be “unjustifiable” and “excessive.” This argument is based on the fact that the auto insurance industry in the state has not changed significantly in the past year, and therefore the rates should stay static. The Insurance Journal adds that rate experts within the NCDOI have called foul play on the Rate Bureau, which uses claims arising from the North Carolina Reinsurance Facility in their numbers. The Reinsurance Facility insures risky drivers and Bureau rates do not apply to those drivers. Using these data, the NCDOI claims that the Rate Bureau has skewed and faulty numbers due to these incorrect calculations.

The NCDOI also claim that they have saved North Carolina drivers over $5 billion over the last 14 years by protecting the state from similar hikes.

Whatever Long’s decision is, the Rate Bureau has the option of appealing its case in the future. In the mean time, and auto insurance companies can raise rates while awaiting an appeals decision. However, if the ordered rates are in the end are lower than the rates insurance companies have been charging, the difference in the money will be returned to policyholders.

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