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FIRST AUTO INSURANCE REFUND CHECKS GO OUT; APPROXIMATELY $100 MILLION ON WAY TO NORTH CAROLINA DRIVERS

 RALEIGH, N.C., Sept. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- If you paid auto insurance premiums between March 1, 1990, and March 1, 1991, the mailman may soon have some good news for you: a refund check, as ordered by Insurance Commissioner Jim Long.
 A complex settlement reached in April between Long and North Carolina's auto insurers calls for approximately $100 million in refunds to consumers. Beginning today, the first of these checks will be mailed to North Carolina drivers.
 "We're tremendously pleased to see these funds going back to consumers," said Long. "This is the largest refund of its kind in the country, and I'm sure these checks will be welcomed by the families and individuals who pay auto insurance premiums."
 Long said that under the settlement, auto insurers must recalculate the rates charged for policies purchased or renewed in the one-year period beginning March 1, 1990. Consumers who were charged a rate higher than what he approved are to receive a check from their company for the difference. The first checks will be mailed starting today, and all refunds must be mailed no later than March 1, 1994.
 Long cautioned that while many drivers will get checks, policyholders whose rates were already discounted by their insurer may not see a refund. Long also said that since the cost of a driver's insurance is determined by a variety of factors including driving record, place of residence, coverages carried and type of vehicle, the amount of the refund will vary greatly among drivers, and must be determined by each driver's insurance company. CONSUMERS WISHING TO CONFIRM THEIR PARTICULAR SITUATION SHOULD CONTACT THEIR INSURANCE COMPANY DIRECTLY FOR MORE INFORMATION.
 Drivers who have moved or changed insurers since March 1990 should be sure that their current address is on file with the company that carried their coverage during this period.
 Though North Carolina is the tenth most populous state, North Carolinians enjoy the ninth LOWEST auto rates.
 -0- 9/1/93
 /CONTACT: Paul Mahoney of the N.C. Department of Insurance, 919-733-5238/


CO: N.C. Department of Insurance ST: North Carolina IN: INS AUT SU:

CM-DF -- CH008 -- 8070 09/01/93 15:41 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 1, 1993
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