North Carolina insurance companies are asking for a 25 percent increase in insurance rates for homeowners across the state to be effective sometime in 2021.
If approved by state regulators, the increase would make the average homeowner’s bill go up a couple hundred dollars a year.
CBS 17 News in Raleigh talked to many homeowners who argue that between affordable housing issues and the pandemic, this simply is not the time.
A public hearing by the NC Department of Insurance is being scheduled for September, and AARP is encouraging members who are concerned about a large rate hike to weigh in by becoming an AARP e-activist. AARP intends on sending thousands of letters and petition signatures to the Department later this year.
An initial pubic hearing was held in December, but little publicity and advance notice of the hearing, in addition to it being an in-person hearing during the pandemic, resulted in very light turnout.
This week, AARP North Carolina Director Michael Olender, sent the following letter to the NC Insurance Commissioner:
January 4, 2021
Commissioner Michael Causey
NC Department of Insurance
1201 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699-1201
Dear Commissioner Causey,
AARP is deeply concerned about the 25 percent homeowners’ insurance rate hike request and about a public hearing process that received little notice and public attention. For older adults, going to an in-person hearing is out of the question during the pandemic, as well as the holiday season -- and the virtual hearing was inaccessible to many, including those in North Carolina without broadband and internet access.
Not only does the public hearing process lack transparency but it is also discriminatory. An important issue like an insurance rate hike that effects the majority of North Carolinians has to follow a more democratic process and involve participation that is more public.
When word does get out about the rate hike request, older adults feel both outraged and anxious with today’s economic conditions and unemployment (currently at 6.7 percent), coupled with rising health care costs, prescription drug costs, food prices and other necessities of day-to-day living. Shelter is also a vital necessity and according to the North Carolina Homeowners Alliance, there are already over 90,000 households behind on their mortgage payments due to COVID-19.
Too many residents in North Carolina are in desperate shape with little to no emergency and retirement savings where the $600 stimulus check they hope to receive from the federal government is their only income since the last stimulus payment.
In addition, close to 40 percent of North Carolinians ages 65 and over, rely on Social Security as their only source of income. Cost-of-living adjustments for 2021 are only 1.3 percent, pushing limited-income older adults further behind when it comes to keeping up with basic needs.
We fully expect to hear from thousands of AARP members about their inability to shoulder a 25 percent homeowners’ insurance increase in 2021. Their concerns should be heard and considered regardless of a little publicized and lightly attended public process.
Our intention is either to share those comments and concerns with the NC Department of Insurance through a formal process, or to connect them directly with you through e-mail or petition signatures.
In summary, the economic conditions we are experiencing make this proposal a danger to the well-being of North Carolinians and we hope we can avoid a rate hike of this magnitude. Therefore, we urge you to reconsider the proposal to increase the homeowners’ insurance rate.
Director, AARP North Carolina
To help homeowners push back on this rate hike request, sign-up for AARP action alerts.
This story is provided by AARP North Carolina. Visit the AARP North Carolina page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.
Monday, Jan 25, 2021 at 2:00pm Eastern Time
Monday, Jan 25, 2021 at 4:00pm Eastern Time
Tuesday, Jan 26, 2021 at 11:00am Eastern Time
JOIN FOR JUST $16 A YEAR