Auto insurers in North Carolina asked to keep rates flat in 2014, according to the state’s insurance commissioner.
The request was part of an annual rate filing that the North Carolina Rate Bureau (NCRB) submits to the North Carolina Department of Insurance (NCDOI).
Wayne Goodwin, NCDOI’s commissioner, said that the car coverage rates currently in effect are “just below 2006 levels.” They were lowered to those levels as part of a settlement in 2009 between the NCDOI and NCRB over a state auto insurance rate hike that the NCRB had implemented the previous year.
Other parts of the settlement included a locking-in of rates between 2009 and 2011 and tens of millions of dollars refunded to about 1 million North Carolina drivers.
The state is unique in the way it regulates a car insurance industry that Goodwin said has more than 150 active coverage providers.
In North Carolina, the NCRB submits an annual rate filing to the NCDOI based on filings it receives from the state’s auto insurers. The NCRB rate filing is subject to approval by the NCDOI and can be capped by the department’s commissioner.
The latest NCRB rate filing, submitted last week, will be “reviewed by [NCDOI] experts,” the department said.
“The fact that today’s car insurance rates are no higher than they were in 2006 shows that North Carolina continues to have a strong and stable auto insurance market,” Goodwin said on Wednesday.
Goodwin also said that the NCDOI is currently reviewing the territorial categories that play into auto coverage rates, per a state law that requires such assessments every 10 years.
NAIC Figures Show North Carolina Rates Cheaper than U.S. Average
On average, North Carolina drivers spend less on car insurance than most Americans, according to the latest report from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) that is based on data in 2011, the most recent year available.
North Carolina’s average car insurance expenditure of $600.33 gives the state the 46th-highest average expenditure in the U.S. The figure is nearly 25 percent below the national average of $797.44.
In addition, average policies cost less in North Carolina compared with the rest of the nation. The average combined premium of $708.24 gives the Tar Heel State the 44th-highest average in the U.S., 22.3 percent below the national average combined premium of $911.56.
In the NAIC report, expenditures measure what a driver spends on his or her policy. The combined premium figures measure the cost of a policy containing liability, comprehensive and collision coverage.