Settlement leads to 9% auto insurance rate increase, down from 28% ask by Rate Bureau 

Drivers navigate slippery conditions caused by freezing rain along Interstate 40/85 near Burlington, N.C., Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021 as winter weather moves through the state. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

RALEIGH — North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey announced on Aug. 8 a settlement has been made with the North Carolina Rate Bureau over its auto insurance rate increase request.  

On Feb. 1, the N.C. Rate Bureau had requested a statewide increase of 28.4% for personal auto rates as well as a 4.7% increase in motorcycle liability rates. The Rate Bureau is not a part of the state’s insurance agency but instead represents the North Carolina insurance industry. 

The settlement negotiated by Causey will be an average statewide auto rate increase of 9%, which will be implemented with a 4.5% hike in 2023 and 4.5% more in 2024. Per the agreement, motorcycle liability will increase by 4.6% over the same time frame. 

According to Causey’s release, the settlement is “about two-thirds less than the insurance companies had requested” and will “save drivers approximately $1.6 billion over the next two years” compared to the Rate Bureau’s original request.  

Under the settlement, there can be no additional increases before Oct. 1, 2025. 

“I’m proud that North Carolina is consistently among the lowest annual average rates for private passenger vehicles in the nation,” Causey said in a statement. “In recent years, we’ve seen some rate increases due to more accidents and fatalities in North Carolina. This can be attributed to factors such as excessive speeding and driving under the influence. However, the number one cause of accidents and, thus, rate increases, is distracted driving.” 

The commissioner’s statement cites a 2023 study from U.S. News and World Report ranking North Carolina as the sixth lowest state in average annual automobile insurance costs. 

“It is unlikely that we will see rate decreases in the future unless some of these trends change,” said Causey. “Drivers and driving habits impact the rates the most, in addition to increased repair costs due to excessive inflation. We don’t wish for any rate increases but we are doing everything we can to protect consumers.” 

An Oct. 16 hearing on the auto insurance rate increase has been canceled as a result of the settlement. 

About A.P. Dillon 1127 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_