Under the Dome

NC House OKs property insurance reform bill

The N.C. House unanimously approved a bill Tuesday that aims to reform how the state regulates homeowners insurance rates.

“I believe it’s a balanced attempt to provide much needed statewide property insurance reform,” said the bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Chris Millis of Pender County. “This bill has the potential to provide more affordable property insurance rates.”

Among many other things, the bill would: expand the state insurance commissioner’s ability to decrease homeowners insurance rates; require insurers to provide more detailed information about premiums and losses by geographic territory; and calls for creation of a legislative study committee to take a look at the way the state regulates homeowners insurance – a system that is unique in the nation – with an eye towards possible reform.

The bill also would impose restrictions on consent-to-rate, which has become a hot-button issue among homeowners. Consent-to-rate is a perfectly legal way for insurers to charge rates higher than the state-approved maximum by obtaining a policyholder’s approval in writing.

Those bills have been endorsed by Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin and the North Carolina Homeowners Alliance, as well as the Realtors’ association.