It was little publicized, but early in February North Carolina motorists received good financial news – there will not be an increase in automobile insurance rates this year. Better news is there is still a possibility for a decrease.
The NC Rate Bureau, which gathers information from all the companies writing auto insurance in the state, made a “zero” 2012 rate filing with North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Godwin. It is the second straight year no increase is being sought by the bureau. Godwin still can call for a state-wide decrease, if he feels it is justified, after reviewing insurance company records. Godwin rejected a 1.4% increase sought by the Rate Bureau in 2009, called for a .5% rate reduction and won the ensuing court suit. One million drivers whose rates had already been increased then received insurance company refunds totaling $50 million.
North Carolina has the eighth lowest auto insurance rates in the nation, according to the National Insurance Information Institute. The state’s insurance commissioner, an elected official, hasn’t approved a rate increase sought by the Rate Bureau in more than a decade. The commissioner’s role is legislatively designed to be a watchdog for consumers in relation to the insurance industry.