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Property insurance bill moves forward

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A bill that adds transparency to the state's ratemaking process for homeowners insurance is headed to the House floor after sailing through the House Insurance Committee.

The bill, HB 519, was unanimously approved by a voice vote of committee members after changes were once again made to accommodate issues raised by the Insurance Department and the industry.

"We have addressed several of the concerns," said Rep. Paul Tine, a Democrat from Kitty Hawk and one of the primary sponsors of the bill. "I won't say that everything has been addressed."

The bill requires the N.C. Rate Bureau, which represents insurers on rate issues, to use at least two computer models to calculate potential losses from catastrophes if computer models are used at all. Critics along the coast, where homeowners been hit by much higher rate increases than the rest of the state, have complained about the models used by the industry.

The bill also calls for each industry rate request to include historical data dating back to 1987, broken down by territory, for losses stemming from hurricanes.

An earlier version of the bill called for insurance companies to include in their premium notices to consumers a breakdown of the amount of the premium that stems from insuring against wind and hail damage and how much is related to coverage for fire, theft and other claims. But the version approved Tuesday calls for the state Insurance Department to post that information for each territory on its website instead.

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About the blogger

David Ranii has been a business reporter at The News & Observer since 1993. Over the years he has covered information technology, banking, insurance, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, media businesses and real estate. Contact him at 919-829-4877 or e-mail him.