What’s All the Huffing and Puffing About in North Carolina?

                                                                                                                                                                  

Will It Blow Our Houses Down and Our Insurance Companies Away?

Just as President-Elect Obama has the economy to keep him awake at night, our newly elected North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance, Wayne Goodwin, has inherited an issue sure to cause nightmares.  What do you do with a $70 billion coastal property exposure growing at the rate of $900,000.00 per month but not enough insurance to put it all back if hit with a Katrina?

Most homes insured along our coastline are covered for wind and hail through the NC Beach Plan, also called the Wind Pool, sometimes called the Last Resort.  This is a result of insurance companies excluding wind and hail on homeowners policies because of the huge exposure.   This plan currently has around $2.4 billion in reserves, or money available to pay claims.    Do the math.  $70 billion minus $2.4 billion equals NOT NEARLY ENOUGH MONEY.  What happens if (or when) our coast has a major storm?  When the $2.4 billion is handed out and more is needed the state will begin to access all licensed property insurers in NC according to their percentage of the market.  For example, Hurricane Floyd hit the coast in 1999 and a carrier could have easily been assessed $30 million.  If a major storm hits the coast their cut of the damage today would exceed six times that amount.  So even though companies may choose to exclude the coverage, they still have to help pay for the claims.  And if some companies declared bankruptcy as a result of a major storm the remaining companies would be assessed again.  How does this impact us?  Many options are being explored: • Increase homeowner premiums for coastal property. • Increase wind and hail deductibles for coastal property. • Increase homeowner premiums across the state. • Many of our companies are already asking for a better spread of risks; they want agencies to write auto and other lines of business as well as homeowners, or we may be forced to move the homeowners only client to another company. What’s the worst that could happen?  Companies could begin a mass exodus out of North Carolina.  Farmers Insurance has already left the state.  Encompass, an independent market of Allstate, has declared a moratorium on new property insurance.   Nationwide announced they will stop writing new “wind and hail policies” in North Carolina. As with the economy there is no quick fix, just the hope that the wind doesn’t blow for a few more years until this can be resolved.   In the meantime, I will let you know of any changes that may affect you or your clients.      

Annette White  (704-957-2764)  annette.white@allentate.com

                                                                                                      704-896-5141     Allen Tate Company      www.LeeAnnMiller.com

Charlotte,NC-East Charlotte

East of Uptown, Charlotte is home to a wide collection of neighborhoodssome new and some established. All have a distinct “laid-back” atmosphere that hints of rural life; but they are without a doubt part of metro Charlotte. To catch a look at how people in these parts lived some 200 years ago, visit the Charlotte Museum of History and the Hezekiah Alexander Homesite, Mecklenburg’s oldest surviving structure. Take in the 18th-century-style house, kitchen and springhouse and then visit the museum for permanent and touring exhibits. The wooded grounds are a lovely respite from city life. The site is also home to the worlds largest ground-level bell, the 7-ton and seven-by-seven foot American Freedom Bell, which is nestled in a lovely setting on the property on Shamrock Drive. East Charlotte is home to some of the city’s most affordable housing, which makes it an especially good spot for first-time buyers and people who want value and good prices. The area also boasts several large apartment and town home communities.

Shopping

Central Avenue/Albemarle Road and East Independence Boulevard are two of Charlottes busiest commercial districts, with loads of stores and the traffic to go along with them. Independence Boulevard is home to a sprawling collection of auto dealers, big-box stores and strip shopping centers. Charlotte-Mecklenburg is planning a transit system for the Southeast Corridor which will run along Independence Boulevard from Charlotte to Matthews. Eastland Mall, which sits on Central Avenue between Sharon Amity and Albemarle roads, draws shoppers from around the region to its healthy assortment of national chain specialty stores, anchors and a food court. The 1.1-million-square-foot, double-decker center also is one of the coolest places in town, thanks to the Ice House, an ice-skating rink in the center of the mall. Shoppers who want to take a break can watch from the balconies overhead or rent a pair of skates for a spin on the ice. Diversity A trend that’s shaping East Charlotte is the influx of immigrants and new citizens who make their homes in this family-friendly area. Here’s where you’ll find the Hindu Center, the Islamic Center, the Chinese Baptist Church and a host of other facilities, as well as many ethnic groceries and specialty stores. Perhaps because of this, East Charlotte also has developed an eclectic selection of restaurants, including Italian, Chinese, Thai, Mexican, Vietnamese, steakhouses, family restaurants and cafeterias. Recreation If you want to get outdoors, check out Reedy Creek Park and Nature Preserve on Rocky River Road. It features 727 acres of nature trails, recreational fields, a disc golf course, fishing ponds, picnic areas and an Environmental Center, with hands-on nature exhibits and a butterfly garden. Golfers will enjoy teeing off at a number of public and semi-private golf courses, including the Charles T. Myers course on Harrisburg Road. Mint Hill For a city that combines country atmosphere with city convenience, take a look at Mint Hill. It was incorporated in 1971, but the city traces its history back to Scotch-Irish settlers in the mid-1700s. The town’s proximity to Union County and some well-executed plans requiring large home sites contribute to the cozy feel. The intersection of N.C. 51 (Matthews-Mint Hill Road) and Lawyers Road is the towns center, with shopping areas and town offices. Youll also find a few manufacturing companies and business parks nearby. For recreation, visit Mint Hill’s 55-acre Fairview Park, which includes an asphalt track for walking, bicycling or in-line skating, a disc golf course, nature trail, playground, racquetball and tennis courts, ball fields and a full concession stand. Folks who want more peace and quiet enjoy the meditation garden at St. Luke Catholic Church on Lawyers Road and the Mint Hill branch of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg public library, a 12,000-square-foot facility that has a loyal following.                                                                                                                           704-896-5141 Office                                                         www.LeeAnnMiller.com                                                            Allen Tate Company