The NC Rate Bureau (the entity representing insurance companies in North Carolina) requested a 25% (homeowners) and 40% (tenants and condominiums) increase in insurance premiums for permanent homes in Emerald Isle in late 2017. After reviewing the request and considering significant public input (thank you to those who commented!), NC Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey approved a 5.5% (homeowners) and 12% (tenants and condominiums) rate increase for Emerald Isle on April 18.
The Town is pleased that the approved rate increase is significantly lower than requested (5.5% and 12% is certainly better than 25% and 40%), but continues to have concerns about the overall unfair rate structure used in North Carolina. Because Commissioner Causey essentially approved a similar increase for nearly all areas of NC, Emerald Isle property owners (and those in other barrier island communities) will continue to pay insurance premiums that are 4 - 5 times higher than many other communities in NC. The Town recently hosted top staff from the NC Department of Insurance in Emerald Isle, reiterated these concerns, and again requested that Commissioner Causey work with the NC General Assembly and others to implement a fairer rate structure.
A separate rate increase request for second homes and vacation rental units (nearly 40%) is still pending a final decision by Commissioner Causey. The Town, and many of our property owners, recently submitted comments to Commissioner Causey in March, and the Town remains hopeful that this requested increase will also be rejected or significantly reduced. A final decision on this request is expected sometime in the coming months.
Emerald Isle property owners are advised to carefully review their insurance renewal notices to determine the amount of any premium increases. Some insurance companies utilize a procedure known as "Consent to Rate", which allows the insurance companies to charge higher rates than those approved by the NC Insurance Commissioner (with your voluntary consent that may be provided unknowingly). If you experience larger increases, please contact your insurance agent and/or shop around for the most affordable coverage, as there may be multiple options available.