To: The NC Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin
Dear Mr. Goodwin:
Over the course of the last five years the premiums for wind and hail insurance have soared to offensive extremes in the coastal communities. Furthermore, not only is it a mandatory policy but also offered to the vast majority of us exclusively through the NC Joint Underwriting Association. The very notion of capitalism is driven by virtue of a free market, but without competition there is no incentive for this company to reduce their rates. It is your job as the Insurance Commissioner to work with our Legislators to regulate these exorbitant increases and more adequately represent the people who put you in office.
If our annual premiums are established based on the value of our homes then why do premiums continue to skyrocket in this economy while the housing market plummets? My insurance carrier justified that NCJUA is establishing a pool to handle all the claims in the event of a catastrophe. If that is the case, then considering how long it has been since we have had a major hurricane and the fact that the pool is increasing annually, then it should be substantial enough at this point that they are able to actually reduce premiums considering the lack of claims.
Personally my wind and hail policy has quadrupled since 2006 and my only option to reduce the premium was to increase my deductible. How can this be justified unless my home appreciated four times over in that short period? If it keeps increasing at this rate, over the next five years I will be paying close to $10,000 per year!!! There are many elderly citizens on fixed incomes being forced from their life-long homes as a result of this corporate greed. I am also finding that as the required coverage increases for more expensive houses, the percentage determining their premium decreases. Therefore the costly ocean front properties, which are the most susceptible to wind damage, receive a discounted insurance rate. Clearly it should be a fixed percentage determined exclusively per zone.
In my opinion the escrow accounts that pay our taxes and insurance are an inconspicuous deception, as we are not immediate participants in the distribution of our own money, nor given the option to be. But the people of this country have had it with politicians, banks and insurance companies and we will not sit idly while they steal from our pockets any longer. We have watched our mortgage payments increase, and scratched our heads about negative escrow balances for long enough as a result of this wind and hail abomination.
In reviewing my records I noticed that the only year there was no significant increase was from 2008 to 2009, i.e. the year you were elected to office and undoubtedly a campaign promise. Unfortunately, after that year it was back to business. Well now the residents of coastal North Carolina demand not only a rate freeze, but also a reduction from the NCJUA. Furthermore we want you and the Legislators to implement a law which would cap a maximum annual percentage increase that parallels the average rate of appreciation. If you are not here to represent us and alleviate this financial injustice, then effectively every signature on this petition will be one vote for your adversary in the coming election, because “thanks for your support” goes both ways.
Sincerely, R. Benton
note to the undersigned: your comments will be louder if you take a moment and copy them into an email to the Insurance Commissioner whose address is posted in the Links column in the top right....
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