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Lawmakers Support Stopping Beach Plan

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By Jeremy Loeb and Michelle Bliss

Wilmington, NC – A North Carolina judge has frozen planned deductible and surcharge increases for coastal homeowners in the state insurance pool called the Beach Plan.

The surcharges took effect last month. The ruling doesn't affect higher premiums scheduled for May.

Even before the judge's action was announced, State Representative Bonner Stiller said he's optimistic about putting the brakes on rising Beach Plan homeowner's insurance rates.

Under the Beach Plan, North Carolina coastal residents would see their homeowner's insurance rates rise to 30% starting May 1st.

Meanwhile, residents in the middle and western part of the state will see little to no increase, and some would even see a rate decrease.

State representative Bonner Stiller says he'd like to see the issue revisited.

"What is happening is this is going to cause a lot of the families to not insure their homes because they simply can't afford the bill. It is a terrible burden, on fixed income, on low income, and regular families. I mean that is a huge amount of increase."

The Brunswick County Republican says he's working with other House members as well as the North Carolina state senate to push legislation to halt the rate increases.

State Representative Carolyn Justice Wants to See the Data

Even before the judge's action was announced, State Representative Carolyn Justice said she wants to see data supporting the Beach Plan's rate hikes.

The North Carolina Beach Plan is a state program for wind and hail insurance for coastal homes. Some of its rates are going up by as much as 30-percent.

The Pender County Republican is part of a caucus of coastal legislators who have hired an attorney to obtain the facts behind these increases."

We're hoping that the outcome of this disaster is going to be one that makes us re-look at the way we do insurance in North Carolina. And maybe we needed something to sort of jolt us into that. And hopefully our folks won't be hit so hard."

Pender, Brunswick, and New Hanover Counties joined a lawsuit attempting to block premium increases for homeowners along the coast.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please e-mail us, we'd like to hear from you. news@whqr.org.