OUTER BANKS, N.C. (WAVY) — Nationwide told a state agency it will not renew policies for 10,525 homeowners in North Carolina, with more than 1,000 of those non-renewals on the Outer Banks.
More than half of the policies are based on the “hurricane hazard assessment tool,” according to the North Carolina Department of Insurance.
The remaining policies are not renewed for referrals to the North Carolina Insurance Underwriting Association’s Beach Plan.
Nationwide told NCDOI they took a measured view to “assess and rebalance its portfolio based on risk.”
The insurance company said it looked at climate severity, weather-related losses and the reinsurance market.
The news leaves residents scrambling to find a policy that doesn’t break the bank.
“It may be a little harder to find coverage now,” said Willo Kelly, CEO of the Outer Banks Association of Realtors. “All of a sudden, you know they are going to drop you and you have to find coverage elsewhere and it’s much more expensive.”
The coast of North Carolina isn’t the only coastal community seeing it happen.
“There was a lot of losses in Florida from Hurricane Ian, so we, of course, are being affected,” Kelly said. “They are pulling in where they see the highest risk.”
She said people living on the coast already pay a lot in insurance.
Outer Banks residents often pay for homeowners insurance, which covers fire liability, and then add separate wind and flood insurance.
She said people inland usually only pay a homeowners insurance policy that includes most of that.
Kelly said wind insurance rates alone are 10 times more than inland communities.
Kelly shared a story about a couple buying a home on the Outer Banks. She said it shows just how much insurance is skyrocketing.
“Went to closing and thought the insurance cost would be similar to the current owner’s, which is about $3,500,” Kelly said. “They were shocked to find the new coverage total would be $20,000. That’s a $20,000 annual coverage premium,” Kelly said.
She said this all hurts the affordability of homes.
“It’s the ability to maintain your mortgage,” Kelly said. “They have to come up with a couple extra hundred dollars a month, $500 a month, $1,000 a month. It’s going to affect some people hard.”
Nationwide didn’t respond to 10 On Your Side’s inquiries.
Affected homeowners should contact their agent to secure replacement coverage.
The Outer Banks Association of Realtors is partnering with Dare County to hold “A Community Conversation on Property Insurance” from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2 at the Dare County Commissioners meeting room.
The general managers of the NCIUA and the North Carolina Rate Bureau will be the featured speakers.