The Onslow County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution Monday night against the proposed insurance rate increase and asked residents to join them in protesting the hike in Raleigh on Wednesday.
“It makes me plain sick,” said Onslow County Chairman W.C. Jarman, adding that it’s time for the inequitable increases to stop.
The rate hike could mean an average 30-percent increase in homeowner policies across 18 coastal counties including Onslow and Carteret counties while western counties see barely an increase at all, according to the rate filing from the North Carolina Rate Bureau, which represents property insurance companies doing business in the state.
A public comment period is set for Wednesday.
“I think folks should go and should say they are against it,” said State Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown, R-Onslow. Brown pushed for legislation last year that created the public comment session in front of the state insurance commissioner.
The N.C. Department of Insurance said last week that it received the requested rate hike from the NCRB at a statewide average increase of 17.7 percent. The NCRB is also requesting that the new rates take effect June 1, 2013.
The increase is unfair to counties east of I-95, said state Rep. Phil Shepard, R-Onslow.
“A homeowner with a house valued at $75,000 in Mecklenburg County pays $341 for insurance,” Shepard said. “A homeowner with the same valued house in Onslow County pays $1,200. That’s just not fair and they want to raise it 30 percent here and next to nothing there.”
While coastal counties see a 30 percent increase, other areas of the state would see increases of only 1.2 percent. Coastal homeowners have seen rate increases every cycle since 1992.
NC-20, a group of individuals, local governments and businesses that promote economic development in coastal counties, said it fought against the 2009 rate increases and plans to oppose this increase as well.
Onslow County Manager Jeff Hudson said he was organizing a trip to Raleigh for residents to be able to speak in front of the commissioner. Hudson said the county couldn’t use tax dollars to pay for the bus so he was seeking funds from local business organizations.
The Jacksonville Board of Realtors, the Jacksonville-Onslow Chamber of Commerce and the Onslow County Home Builders Association have partnered to charter a bus to Raleigh on Wednesday morning. The bus will depart from the county parking lot adjacent to the Onslow County Justice Complex on Court Street at 7:30 a.m.