An overhead view of Ocracoke Village, NC, looking west. Photo: C. Leinbach
An overhead view of Ocracoke Village looking west. Photo: C. Leinbach

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From the Outer Banks Voice

A request for rate increases reaching 25 percent along the coast was turned down lat week by the state insurance commissioner and has been scheduled for a July 23 hearing.

The North Carolina Rate Bureau, which represents the industry, had asked for an average 18.7-percent hike statewide, with increases even higher in coastal counties. Western counties would have seen a much lower increase, according to the state Department of Insurance.

“We are not in agreement with the Rate Bureau’s proposed increases filed Nov. 17,” Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey said in a statement Friday. “The next step, according to statute, is to set a hearing date.  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.”

The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. in the Second Floor Hearing Room in the Albemarle Building, 325 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh.

Here’s how the Department of Insurance describes the process:

The hearing will be held unless the N.C. Department of Insurance and N.C. Rate Bureau are unable to negotiate a settlement before that date. State law gives the Insurance Commissioner 45 days to issue an order once the hearing concludes. This means the order could be issued in October 2018.

Once the order is issued, the NCRB has the right to appeal the decision before the N.C. Court of Appeals.

A Court of Appeals order could then be appealed to the N.C. Supreme Court.

The NCRB and DOI can settle the proposed rate increase at any time during litigation.

An order of “no change” resulted from the last request for an increase, which was in 2014.

In 2012, a request for a 17.1 percent increase was reduced to 7 percent, which took effect in 2013.

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