Piedmont homeowners may see insurance rates increase due to hurricanes

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ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. — North Carolinians may have to spend more next year for homeowner’s insurance due to concern over hurricanes and the potential destruction they can cause.

The N.C. Rate Bureau requires approval from the N.C. Department of Insurance before rates are set permanently for 2012, but some counties could experience rate hikes as high as 30 percent, according to news-gathering affiliate WTKR.

The rate hikes vary between cities and counties.  In the Piedmont Triad, homeowners within the city limits of Greensboro and Winston-Salem are facing a proposed hike of 1.2 percent.  However, the rest of Guilford and Forsyth counties are facing an 8.0 percent increase. 

Alamance, Davidson, Randolph and Yadkin counties also face an 8.0 percent increase. 

Davie, Rockingham, Stokes and Surry counties have a higher proposed increase at 13.7 percent. 

Insurance companies reportedly say the increase is needed due to more claims, higher costs per claim and the potential for losses from a severe hurricane.

“You could understand if they’re asking for this rate increase because they suffered huge losses with Irene last year or some other, but it just looks like they’re trying to pad the coffers before the next big hurricane — if there’s another big hurricane, whenever that may be,” Elizabeth City resident Dave Simpson told WTKR.

A public hearing concerning the issue was held Wednesday in Raleigh and public comments are also being accepted at the state DOI.

The deadline for submitting written comments is Friday. Comments can be mailed to: NCDOI, Attn: Bob Mack, Property & Casualty Division, 1201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1201, or emailed to 2012homeowners@ncdoi.gov.