Over One Million Drivers May See Huge Rate Increases

Written by on 5/20/2011 11:00 AM . It has 3 Comments.

Two auto insurance bills in the Senate sponsored and supported by the insurance industry will cause mandatory auto liability insurance rates to skyrocket over the next few years for 1,000,000 North Carolina auto insurance policyholders.

The members of the AIANC represent over 200,000 North Carolina policyholders.  It is our belief that these bills, while beneficial for insurance companies, would be harmful to our customers.

S477 & S490 – Either bill will cause higher rate increases for 16% of all NC policyholders over the next few years than they would receive under the current law.  Auto liability rates for these policyholders are likely to be 30% to 40% higher in a few years than under the current law.

  1. Either bill makes the Commissioner’s approval of the voluntary NC Rate Bureau (NCRB) auto liability rates irrelevant. Senate bill S490 allows insurance companies to raise auto liability insurance rates by up to 30% within 366 days without any approval whatsoever.  Either bill effectively takes away the ability for the elected Commissioner of Insurance to protect NC drivers from excessive rates on the mandatory auto liability insurance they are required by law to purchase.
  2. The insurance industry touts that these bills will lower rates for some North Carolina drivers, however there is absolutely no guarantee from these companies that any customers will really pay less.  Ask them if they can guarantee lower rates if either bill passes!  In fact, we know that auto liability insurance rates will increase dramatically for 1,000,000 policyholders and we know insurance companies will be able to increase rates much faster for all drivers than they can now.
  3. In our state the Insurance commissioner sets a cap on liability rating classifications. The insurance companies cannot charge more, but they can write the policy voluntary at a lower rate under our current system. What these companies really want is the ability to charge higher rates, not lower rates.
  4. After a thorough review of S477 and S490 and talking with our companies, we believe that either bill will have a significant negative financial impact on the NC domestic insurance companies we represent.  They will also adversely impact other small companies that we represent.  In fact, we are very concerned that within a short period of time that two of our three NC domestic companies may not be able to survive in the auto insurance market that these giant out-of-state companies are trying to create.
  5. There is no crisis in the auto insurance market in NC and no immediate changes are necessary.   We believe that rushing either S477 or S490 through the legislature this session will create many unintended consequences that will adversely impact NC drivers and NC domestic insurance companies.  Auto insurance in NC is different than in other states, but it works, and the current environment produces the 8th lowest auto insurance rates in the country.  There is no shortage of auto insurance companies willing to compete in NC.
  6. We urge all NC Legislators not rush any changes to auto insurance through the Legislature this year.  NC drivers cannot afford the insurance industry to pass any bill that will open up the floodgates in NC for higher auto insurance rates.

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