The North Carolina Insurance Commission approved new rates Thursday. On average, statewide, the average premium increase will be about five and a half percent. Insurance companies had asked for a nearly 22 percent increase. Folks at the beach are getting hit hard. Homeowners along the coast could see as much of a 25 percent increase. Realtors say those who rent out their beach houses will have to cover the higher insurance costs, and many say that cost will be passed on to the consumer. Insurance Commissioner Jim Long cited the rising cost of homes, higher repair costs and recent history of storm damage for the increases. The last storm to strike the coast was Hurricane Ophelia in 2005, which caused more than $40 million in damage here in Eastern Carolina. We'll have much more on the hike and what it means for us here in Eastern Carolina, Monday on WITN-7 News at Six.
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