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Some Drivers Want To Halt Rising Insurance Costs

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Regardless of what state Insurance Commissioner Jim Long wants, some people will pay more for car insurance next year. The North Carolina Rate Bureau, a partnership of insurance companies, has decided to challenge the state Insurance Department's order to reduce auto insurance rates by almost 18 percent.

The N.C. Rate Bureau officials claim at least one in seven car owners will pay almost 6 percent more for insurance next year. Some drivers say they do not like the idea of rising rates.

"I can't see why they would say that insurance has to go up. Supposedly, they're making cars safer, so it doesn't jive," driver Wayne McCall said.

Two weeks ago, Long ordered a 17.8 percent cut in personal auto insurance rates. The rate bureau refused to comply and will take its case to court. In the meantime, the rate bureau will raise rates.

"They've done it in the past. We've gone to court with them. We've beat them in court, and we feel very confident that we'll win this one again," Long said.

Some insurance companies claim the increase is justified by rising claim costs.

"Repair costs are going up and medical, pharmaceutical, hospital expenses are rising pretty significantly," said Ray Evans, manager of the N.C. Rate Bureau.

Baker said for most drivers, it may not be a big increase.

"Our guess is that for many drivers, the increase is going to be fairly insignificant, somewhere between zero percent and 5.9 percent," he said.

Rate change notices will go out in early January with changes becoming effective Jan. 27.

The courts are already dealing with last year's rate filing, which called for an increase of more than 10 percent. That request was turned down by Long.


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