North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Jim Long and State Senator Scott Thomas announced a new law which is expected to alleviate the homeowners insurance crisis currently felt by residents of North Carolina’s 18 coastal counties.
The law came about as a result of legislation introduced by Sen. Thomas in the North Carolina General Assembly earlier this year. Senate Bill 769 (Coastal Homeowners Insurance) requires the Beach Plan, an independent, non-governmental entity that provides insurance coverage for coastal properties, to offer homeowners coverage for primary residences in the coastal area.
Legislation passed during the last session of the Legislature required the Beach Plan to create a true homeowners policy for consumers whose primary residences are in the 18 coastal counties of eastern North Carolina. The Plan previously offered only a fire and dwelling policy, which provided no liability or other needed coverages.
Commissioner Long stressed that the provisions of S.B. 769 will keep costs reasonable while offering broader protection.
Details of the legislation, including that which passed in 2002, include:
—Homeowners policies are available for primary residents only, not rental homes.
—Insurance agents procuring policies from the Beach Plan are able to tentatively approve a policy immediately, without the long waiting period previously required.
—Policies sold under the Beach Plan will offer similar protections as policies sold in the voluntary market.
—Commissioner Long has authority to approve rates, which will be no more than 15 percent higher than rates in the voluntary market.
—Policies became available on July 1.
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