State Insurance Head Defends Higher Beach Plan Rates

North Carolina's new insurance commissioner says legislative efforts to freeze increased costs for coastal homeowners risks making policies less available and less competitive for all residents.

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin said Monday that lawmakers could upset the balance between competition and the need to beef up the state-sanctioned beach insurance plan.

Two legislative measures would hold off increased surcharges of up to 25 percent for homeowner's coverage and up to 15 percent for wind damage that the beach plan charges above what regular insurers can offer. The increased surcharges took effect with new policies written since Feb. 1.

Goodwin said those increases led insurers to keep premiums down in other parts of the state.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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