Mike Causey, Insurance Commissioner, has announced the signing of a settlement agreement with the North Carolina Rate Bureau in response to the latter’s February 01, 2017 request for a 13.8% increase in auto insurance rates. The North Carolina Department of Insurance agreed to a lower average increase of 2.2% – a saving of more than $1 billion for NC consumers over two years.

“We are pleased that we were able to work out a settlement with the Rate Bureau that saved North Carolina consumers over a billion dollars,” Causey said. “It is unfortunate rates have to increase at all. But accidents from distracted driving are up, there are more people on the road because of lower gas prices, and higher medical and automobile repair costs are forcing auto rate increases all across the country.”

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The auto insurance rate change for new and renewal policies will commence on October 01, 2017, and the Rate Bureau, an independent organization representing all auto insurance companies doing business in the state, has agreed not to pass an auto rate filing next year, as reported by the Associated Press.

Distracted driving has been one of the biggest new elements in auto rate increases. A recent Wall Street Journal article reported that insurance companies have been raising rates over the last two years due to a spike in distracted driving.

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“Recent data shows North Carolina has the seventh lowest average auto premiums in the nation,” Commissioner Causey continued. “Our decision to settle was based on the increase in traffic deaths and other safety factors while also maintaining competition for insurance companies and options for consumers. We’ll continue to fight for lower, reasonable rates for consumers. Our number one job is to protect the consumer.”