In what could be construed as a near head-to-head matchup, North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin came out swinging May 18 regarding a potentially huge policy change he had no knowledge about. As the suspense mounted as to who was behind it, it became clear that all the perceived confusion regarding the source of a special provision arbitrarily inserted in SB897, the “Senate Appropriations Bill,” was none other than Senate President Pro-Tempore Marc Basnight (D-Dare).
On one side, you’ve got Basnight saying residents in the state’s 20 coastal communities are paying a disproportionately higher rate of insurance versus the 80 other counties in North Carolina. And on the other side, you have a blind-sided Senate and Insurance Commissioner wanting to expose a political agenda.
Had the provision been overlooked, the legislation had the potential to strip part of Goodwin’s ability to set insurance rates throughout the state. The special provision would have allowed for the creation of a politically-appointed task force (three members of the House appointed by Speaker of the House; three members of the Senate appointed by Senate President Pro Tempore of the Senate). The task force would then be charged with presenting to the General Assembly a “comprehensive plan to overhaul the manner by which insurance rates are established in North Carolina to ensure greater transparency, accountability, public participation, and fairness in the insurance rate-setting process.”
Out of fairness, the likely results would be higher insurance premium rates for residents in the 80 “inland” counties, who’ve decided to not reside along the coast where there is a higher risk of storm damage from Nor’easters and hurricanes, set forth by this task force.