Following up on recognition from business, industry, consumer, and political leaders across the United States and especially in the Southeast over the last year, NC Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin and his team of experts received yet another dose of praise this week for their hard on coastal insurance reforms.
In particular, John Lobart penned:
The trade and mainstream press will soon be filled with articles commenting on the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina—the largest insurance event in history and certainly one of the deadliest. Rather than look at the accumulated statistics, I thought it would be interesting to ask the question, “Have the Atlantic and Gulf Coast state insurance markets prepared for the next big hurricane?”Lobart is a legislative and regulatory affairs lawyer whose firm, Lobert Legislative & Regulatory Consulting, provides public policy advice.
Looking back over the past five years, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina get my vote as states that are clearly better prepared to handle the Big One then they were five years ago. ...
North Carolina pulled its head out of the sand and tackled beach plan reform in 2009. Then newly elected Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin made it clear that it would not be business as usual as it had been under long-time Commissioner Jim Long. Commissioner Goodwin and his staff worked diligently on a beach plan funding compromise guaranteed to make everyone unhappy—and that’s a good thing. The 2009 reform effort included reducing available limits in the Beach Plan (to throw out the wealthiest homes), providing for a huge (but consistently predictable) nonrecoupable assessment upon insurers to fund Beach Plan shortfalls, and providing for surcharges on policyholders statewide if needed to fund the most devastating losses. This last provision was certainly a hard one to sell (especially for an elected Commissioner). But for a state where coastal tourism benefits the entire state, it’s fair. The North Carolina reform law also puts pressure on the Beach Plan board to maintain adequate reinsurance, arguably the number one factor in bringing confidence to the private market as a well-funded residual market significantly reduces the likelihood of post-loss assessments.
"Ultimately," said Commissioner of Insurance Wayne Goodwin, "we have better protected consumers on the coast and beach of the State while preventing a massively unstable insurance market in North Carolina. Doing nothing was not an option, but doing something was not going to be pain-free. We are better prepared, and have enacted mitigation credits, a fairer system that protects the whole state, and a set of reforms that were long overdue."Through Goodwin's leadership, insurance rates in North Carolina on homeowners' insurance - as well as automobile and workers comp - have remained some of the very best in the nation, especially in the South.
Further, Goodwin has also made a strong policy of greater transparency and public participation in the process of insurance regulation in the Tar Heel state.
Leadership, competence, consumer protection, transparency, public participation, and fair ratemaking are pillars in the Goodwin administration.
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Photo: courtesy NOAA.