Insurance Premiums & Points
Insurance Premiums and Points
The North Carolina Rate Bureau ("Bureau,") was established by statute to perform duties with regard to the promulgation of rates for liability insurance for motor vehicles, automobile medical payments insurance, uninsured motorist coverage, and other insurance coverages written in connection with the sale of such liability insurance, as well as rates for other types of insurance.
North Carolina insurers must subscribe to and become members of the Bureau before the Commissioner will grant permission to such insurer to write insurance in North Carolina.
There exist standards which apply to the making and use of rates.
Rates must not be excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory. Due consideration must be given to actual loss and expense experience within North Carolina for the most recent three-year period for which such information is available.
Risk may be grouped by classifications and lines of insurance for establishment of rates and base premiums. Classification rates may be modified to produce rates for individual risk in accord with rating plans which establish standards for measuring variations and hazards or expense provisions or both.
The Bureau must file such rate classifications, schedules, or rules as the Commissioner of Insurance deems to be desirable and equitable to classify drivers of non-fleet private passenger motor vehicles for insurance purposes. Thereafter, the Commissioner may require the Bureau to file modifications of the classifications, schedules, or rules. In the event the Bureau fails to file such modifications within a reasonable time, the Commissioner may promulgate such modifications.
The Bureau is required to file a Safe Driver Incentive Plan, hereinafter referred to as the "Plan." The Plan must distinguish adequately and factually among various classes of drivers as follows:
(a) drivers that have safe driving records and various classes of drivers that have a record of chargeable accidents;
(b) drivers that have a record of convictions of minor and major moving traffic violations; and
(c) drivers that have a combination of the above.
The Plan must provide for premium differentials among those classes of drivers.
In the event any policy loses any safe driver discount provided by the Plan or is surcharged as a result of accumulation of points thereunder, the insurer must, prior to or simultaneously with billing for additional premium, inform the named insured of the surcharge or loss of discount.
Knowing material misrepresentation as to years of driving experience or as to the driving record of any named insured or as to any operator who resides in the same household made by an applicant for issuance or renewal of a non-fleet private passenger motor vehicle insurance policy shall entitle the insurer (a) to cancel or refuse to renew the policy, (b) to surcharge the policy, or (c) to recover from the applicant the appropriate amount of premium or surcharge that would have been collected by the insurer had the applicant furnished the correct information.
In the event the insured disputes his insurer's determination that the operator of the insured vehicle was at fault in an accident, such dispute is resolved pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-36-1(2).
That statute provides that the Bureau shall provide reasonable means to be approved by the Commissioner whereby any person affected by a rate made by it may be heard in person or by his authorized representative before the governing committee or other proper executive of the Bureau. However, an admission or adjudication of negligence precludes the insured's right to dispute his determination of fault.
By enactment of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-36-75, the North Carolina Rate Bureau, in its promulgation of subclassification plans, is empowered to provide for separate surcharges for major, intermediate and minor accidents.
A "major accident" is defined as an at-fault accident that results in either bodily injury or death or only property damage of ($2,500) two thousand five hundred dollars or more.
An "intermediate accident" is an at-fault accident that results in only property damage of more than ($1,500) one thousand five hundred dollars but less than ($2,500) two thousand five hundred dollars.
A "minor accident" is an at-fault accident that results in only property damage of ($1,500) one thousand five hundred dollars or less.
The subclassification plan shall provide that there shall be no premium surcharge, increase in premium on account of cession to the Reinsurance Facility, or assessment of points against an insured where
- the insured is involved and is at fault in a "minor accident," as defined in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-36-75;
- the insured is not convicted of a moving traffic violation in connection with the accident;
- neither the vehicle owner, principal operator, nor any licensed operator in the owner's household has a driving record consisting of one or more convictions for a moving traffic violation or one or more at-fault accidents during the three-year period immediately preceding the date of the application for a policy or the date of the preparation of the renewal of a policy; and
- the insured has not been covered by liability insurance with the same company or company group continuously for at least the six months immediately preceding the accident.
Notwithstanding (4) above, if the insured has been covered by liability insurance with the same company or company group for at least six continuous months, some or all of which were after the accident, the insurance company must remove any premium surcharge or assessment of points against the insured if (1), (2) and (3) above are met.
Also notwithstanding (4) above, an insurance company may choose not to assess a premium surcharge or points against an insured who has been covered by liability insurance with that company or with the company's group for less than six months immediately preceding the accident, if the requirements of (1), (2) and (3) above are met.
With respect to a conviction for "violation of speeding 10 miles per hour or less over the speed limit," there can occur no premium surcharge nor any assessment of points unless there is a driving record consisting of a conviction or convictions for a moving traffic violation or violations, except for a prayer for judgment continued for any moving traffic violation, during the three years immediately preceding the date of application or the preparation of renewal.
With respect to a prayer for judgment continued for any moving traffic violation, there can occur no premium surcharge nor any assessment of points unless the vehicle owner, principal operator, or any licensed operator in the owner's household has a driving record consisting of a prayer or prayers for judgment continued for any moving traffic violation or violations during the three years immediately preceding the date of application or the preparation of the renewal. For these purposes, a "prayer for judgment continued" means a determination of guilt by a jury or a court though no sentence has been imposed. For these purposes, a violation of speeding 10 miles per hour or less over the speed limit does not include the offense of speeding in a school zone in excess of the posted school zone speed limit.
There shall be no premium surcharge or assessment of points against an insured where
(a) the insured's driver's license has been revoked under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-16.5, and
(b) the insured subsequently is acquitted of the offense involving impaired driving, as defined in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-4.01(24a), that is related to the revocation, or the charge for that offense is dismissed. In addition, no insurer shall use, for rating, underwriting, or classification purposes, including ceding any risk to the facility or writing any kind of coverage, any license revocation under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-16.5 if the insured is acquitted or the charge is dismissed as described in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-36-75(a2).[FN4]
Convictions for various moving traffic violations, described herein, result in a recoupment surcharge whether or not the subject driver is assigned points for said violations. A recoupment surcharge is a collection of monies for the purpose of repaying the North Carolina Reinsurance Facility pool (a conglomeration of all automobile insurance companies in North Carolina) for the purpose of repaying said Reinsurance Facility for prior losses.
Convictions for the following moving traffic violations, which occur during the experience period, are subject to a recoupment surcharge pursuant to the Motor Vehicle Reinsurance Facility Recoupment Plan as defined in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-248.34 [nowN.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-37-40] and N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-248.41 [now N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-37-75]:
- being impaired while accompanying a permittee who is learning to drive;
- driving while license is suspended or revoked;
- driving a vehicle while impaired, including driving a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or narcotic drugs and driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.10 percent or more;
- driving by provisional licensee after consuming alcohol or drugs;
- driving carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights of others;
- driving without due caution in a manner so as to endanger other people or property;
- driving at least 11 miles per hour over the posted speed limit;
- speeding in excess of a legal speed limit of 65 miles per hour;
- driving in excess of 55 miles per hour and at least 15 miles per hour over the legal limit, while fleeing or attempting to elude arrest by a law enforcement officer;
- driving more than 15 miles per hour over the legal limit;
- speeding in a school zone;
- engaging in a prearranged speed competition with another motor vehicle;
- willfully engaging in speed competition with another motor vehicle (not prearranged);
- allowing or authorizing others to use one's motor vehicle in a prearranged speed competition or placing or receiving a bet or wager in a prearranged speed competition;
- death by vehicle (unintentionally causing death of another while engaged in impaired driving);
- death by vehicle (unintentionally causing death of another as a result of a violation of motor vehicle law intended to regulate traffic or used to control operation of a vehicle);
- failure to stop by a driver who knew or should have known he was involved in an accident and that accident caused death or injury to any person;
- failure of a driver involved in an accident causing property damage or personal injury or death (if driver did not know of injury or death) to stop at scene of accident;
- failure to yield right-of-way to blind person at crossing, intersections and traffic control signal points;
- failure to stop and remain stopped when approaching a stopped school bus engaged in receiving discharging passengers and while such bus has its mechanical stop signal displayed;
- voluntary manslaughter; or
- involuntary manslaughter.
Convictions for any moving traffic violation not listed in the above paragraph are not subject to a recoupment surcharge unless the owner, principal operator or any licensed operator in the owner's household has been convicted of at least one other moving traffic violation for which a Safe Driver Insurance Plan surcharge point has been assigned or has had also one or more at-fault accidents during the experience period, or in the event of a moving traffic violation for which the operator has been convicted which violation occurred at the time of an at-fault accident.
Accidents defined as at-fault under the Safe Driver Insurance Plan are subject to a recoupment surcharge. However, there shall be no recoupment surcharge for any accident involving only damage to the operator's vehicle or to the property of another for which full payment or full compensation has been made by the operator at fault and when no payment has been made on behalf of the operator at fault by an insurer under any kind of insurance policy.
No accidents or conviction for speeding violations shall be subject to a recoupment surcharge if it occurs as a result of operation of a fire-fighting, rescue squad or law enforcement vehicle in response to an emergency if the operator of the vehicle at the time of the accident or speeding violation was a paid or volunteer member of any fire department, rescue squad or law enforcement agency. However, the aforementioned provision does not include any accidents or speeding violations occurring after the emergency situation ceases or after the vehicle ceases to be used in response to such emergency.[FN3]
Safe Driver Insurance Plan points are applied to a policy for a period of not less nor more than three policy years. The experience period is the three years immediately preceding the date of application or the preparation of the renewal.
Index of Relevant Terms:
- Absolute Divorce
- Contributory Negligence
- Imputed Negligence
- Defenses to a Negligence Lawsuit
- Driving and Texting in North Carolina
- Emotional Distress
- Punitive Damages
- Res Ipsa Loquitur
- Short Sale
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Truck Accidents
- Wrongful Death
- Wrongful Discharge from Employment