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HOMEOWNER INSURANCE RATE ORDER DELAYED UNTIL DECEMBER

 RALEIGH, N.C., Nov. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Insurance Commissioner Jim Long today announced a 30-day postponement in establishing homeowners insurance rates in North Carolina. Long's rate order -- which was expected next week -- will now be issued on or before Dec. 8.
 Said Long: "The insurance industry has asked for the opportunity to present closing arguments, and I am required to grant this request. Let me assure North Carolina homeowners that no policyholder will see a change in rates while these arguments are being heard."
 Deputy Insurance Commissioner Charles Swindell insisted that the postponement in no way represented a softening of department staff objections to the industry's rate hike proposal. "We continue to argue that the rates proposed by the industry are excessive," said Swindell. "We have from the start contended that a noticeable pattern of bias is evident in this proposal and that the rates suggested by the industry would represent an unfair burden for North Carolina citizens."
 The insurance industry proposal to raise homeowners insurance rates statewide by 12.7 percent is the first attempt to change its rates in over fourteen years. The proposal -- originally received in June -- touched off a firestorm of protest, especially in coastal areas which would see rate increases of nearly 50 percent. In public hearings held in Raleigh and three eastern North Carolina cities, hundreds turned out to express their opposition to insurers.
 Written complaints from over a thousand citizens have been sent to Commissioner Long, urging him to reject the industry's rate hike request. In addition, the department has received formal resolutions protesting the industry proposal from boards of county commissioners, city and town councils, and trade associations across North Carolina.
 -0- 11/5/93
 /CONTACT: Paul Mahoney of the N.C. Department of Insurance, 919-733-5238/


CO: North Carolina Department of Insurance ST: North Carolina IN: INS SU:

MM -- CH002 -- 1094 11/05/93 08:45 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 5, 1993
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