State News

N.C. House panel unveils bid to fix beach insurance

Posted June 25, 2009

— North Carolina lawmakers have started grappling with how the underfunded Beach Plan would keep its insurance promises after a bad hurricane season.

The House Insurance Committee on Thursday began considering a proposal to cap insurers' risks from a catastrophe, and shift remaining rebuilding costs to all North Carolina policyholders.

The bill would allow every property insurance policy to rise by up to 10 percent if the Beach Plan's payouts surpass about $2.4 billion. The insurance industry says that's almost double what the Beach Plan would have had to pay if 1996's Hurricane Fran came ashore now.

"All this says is that it will help North Carolina rebuild and recover after a major catastrophe along the lines of Hurricane Hazel, not a Fran – not any of the other hurricanes that have hit – but the big one," state Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin said.

Under the way the bill defines a major hurricane, the state hasn't seen a storm large enough to qualify since Hazel in 1954.

The state Department of Insurance estimates the average $600 homeowners policy could rise up to $60 a year to pay Beach Plan claims.

The Beach Plan insures 170,000 properties valued at nearly $74 billion.

The committee plans to continue its discussion next week.

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  • Blaster Jun 26, 2009

    Don't get your skivvies in a wad. No poor "inlander" has paid a dime to insure my property. The fact is it is extraordiarily unlikely they ever will. A storm of the magnitude to trigger the statewide pool by National Hurricane Center data would cause damage as far as 200 miles inland. Better check your policies "inlanders", nearly every insurance company exempts themselves from liability for "named storms" unless otherwise declared in the policy. And the insurance industry doesn't drop their rates as soon as you cross a bridge to the mainland. Ask the folks who live in New Bern, Jacksonville, Wilmington, etc. Not exactly oceanfront. This whole brewha is an insurance industry scam to avoid doing what they are supposedly in business for. Think otherwise? Ask those who live in mobile homes throughout the entire state. Nationwide Insurance is now going to stop covering. No new policies and dropping existing ones over the next year. . . " too much risk from hail and windstorms.

  • givemeabreak Jun 26, 2009

    Again, if we controlled where houses were being built, maybe. We don't if you want to build in a risky area....you foot the bill. Why should I? This is like California, you build on a hill and have a mud slide then all of california should help to pay for this....I think not.

  • anonemoose Jun 25, 2009

    This settles it. I have been trying to decide if I want to retire to the beach or the mountains. I guess it will be the beach. If I am going to be forced to pay more for insurance, I might as well benefit from it.

  • huladick Jun 25, 2009

    If I have to pay for their beach house, when do I get to reserve my vacation week ?

  • jonmac Jun 25, 2009

    hpr641, it's not the beach property owner's lobby, it's the insurance company lobby. They don't want to cover all the risk and risk losing money in the event of a catastrophe.

  • Here kitty kitty Jun 25, 2009

    By the way, how many of the House reps have beach houses?????

  • jas Jun 25, 2009

    The increase is for everyone, not just beach homeowners. I have a house in Carteret County and just received my renewal from State Farm that included a 40% increase to over $2100 with a $1500 deductible and a $2250 hurricane deductible.

  • GWALLY Jun 25, 2009

    So if my boat sinks in a storm these homeowners will help pay for it as well...what if my car gets flooded???? Only a liberal democrat could come up with something this stupid!!!!!!!! Since Janurary of 09 all I hear is spend, spend, spend, spend.....what the heck are we letting these liberals do people??????????????????????????????????????????

  • jas Jun 25, 2009

    I have a house in Carteret county - not on the beach - and I just received a renewal that my premium would be going up 40% from almost $1400 to over $2100. That's for a $225,000 house with a $1500 deductible. If it's hurricane related, the deductible is $2250. Approximately the same insurance on a house in Raleigh costs me less than $600 and my deductible is $500. Yet, the last hurricane caused more damage in Raleigh and the power was out longer in Raleigh than in Carteret county. Hurricanes caused mudslides in the mountains yet their rates went down. I haven't had a claim at either residence. The next time you sit down at a restuarant at the coast do you want the 40% increase added to your bill? Don't complain about not being able to afford to go down for a day or a week.

  • chfdcpt Jun 25, 2009

    As usual, we had a chance to take care of this problem during the last election. Go look at the general assembly web site, a lot of these yahoos have been there for over 10 years.

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