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Wonder why your North Carolina homeowner insurance policy is going up? According to A.M. Best, an industry rating service, only 4 years out of 20 has been profitable in the homeowner lines of business countrywide. Also, North Carolina is the only state from all adjoining states around us that has not taken a rate increase of at last 18% or more since 2011. There was, however, a general homeowner rate increase in July of 2014. Making matters worse is the down turn in the housing market creating a glut of vacant homes in a market that is very restrictive amid arguably inadequate rates that have been held down for many years by the former and current commissioner of insurance. As if it could not get much worse the N.C. Legislators in their infinite wisdom allowed a concept called "Consent to Rate" that allows an insurance company to charge up to 250% higher than the highest rate allowed by the N.C. Rate Bureau on a case by case basis. The original intent was to rate up only those accounts that warranted this action due to claims, poor credit history, or monoline homes with no supporting auto policy, or any other reason as defined by the insurance companies. The requirement of the insured to sign the CTR letter, or else the policy must be cancelled by statute, is disconcerting to agents and customers and is now being abused by insurance companies to get a higher rate across the board if they wish to take that drastic step. The letter must only be signed once by the customer and some insurance companies are doing this now for both new and renewal policies on an "if needed" basis.

Your only option to lower your insurance premium is to get with your insurance agent to discuss higher deductibles, review the current replacement cost of the house, be sure you are getting all available discounts, or re-score your credit (both husband and/or wife) per the insurance company’s scoring model algorithm.

My advise is to find a good independent insurance agent that has your best interest in mind vs. a company captive agent that only represents one insurance company. Remember the old adage...don't bite the hand that feeds you? That is how a captive agent works since there is little incentive to go to bat for the customer and their options are limited to their own insurance company and their requirements.

Posted 2:43 PM  View Comments

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