Nationwide will not renew thousands of homeowners' policies in North Carolina

Coastal regions continue to feel impact of hurricane risks

Nationwide will not renew thousands of homeowners' policies in North Carolina

Insurance News

By Mika Pangilinan

Nationwide has chosen not to renew 10,525 homeowners’ insurance policies in North Carolina, citing concerns primarily related to hurricane risks.

The move is expected to impact 4.4% of the insurer’s 237,652 policies in the state and 1.7% of its 621,705 policies nationwide, as noted in a report by local newspaper The Virginian Pilot.

The majority of the non-renewals are concentrated in the eastern part of the state, with over 1,000 of them affecting policyholders on the Outer Banks.

According to Jason Tyson, communications director for the North Carolina Department of Insurance (NCDOI), 5,781 policies were not renewed based on a “hurricane hazard assessment tool,” while 4,744 policies will be referred to the North Carolina Insurance Underwriting Association, commonly known as the Beach Plan.

Nationwide had notified the NCDOI of its decision in February 2023, Tyson told the Virginian Pilot, citing the need to reassess and rebalance its portfolio based on risk factors such as climate severity, weather-related losses, and changes in the reinsurance market.

Tyson went on to explain that the non-renewals might have the opportunity to be rewritten with the insurer “if wind exposure is ceded to the North Carolina Insurance Underwriting Association and if current underwriting guidelines are met.”

But this option may not be available for those on the Outer Banks, according to insurance agent Scott Weatherly, since Nationwide hasn’t written any new homeowners’ policies across the barrier islands for approximately a decade,

Weatherly, who co-owns Weatherly Insurance Agency, told the Virginian Pilot that Nationwide policies without wind and hail coverage remain active but those with wind and hail coverage will not be renewed.

The impact of the non-renewals also extends beyond North Carolina, Weatherly said, affecting over 100,000 homes from Texas to the Northeast, including over 9,000 homes along North Carolina’s coast.

Nationwide first announced its decision in April and non-renewals began in July, Weatherly added. Clients with renewal dates from this December to July 2024 may still be awaiting notice of the change.

A statement from Nationwide noted that the company is on “a path to long-term growth” amid the impact of inflation and market disruptions on the insurance industry. It also mentioned plans to update rates and become more selective about the coverage it is “willing to write.”

“Like everyone else in our industry, we are taking the necessary actions that ensure long-term viability and allow us to offer protection at a competitive price to customers across all our business lines who represent many types of needs,” the statement emailed to the Virginian Pilot said.

Reports from earlier this year identified Nationwide as among the major insurers pulling out of coastal neighborhoods in Virginia. In an interview with WTKR News 3, one Hampton Roads resident recounted how he was told that Nationwide would not be renewing his policy.

“In June, I received a call from my agent that Nationwide would not be renewing my policy which I had for over 20 years,” Fred Drummond told the local news outlet. “They are not gonna renew anymore or write any more policies for the 23451 area.”

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