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North Myrtle Beach activist speaks out about high insurance â€" by Jim Hulen

A local North Myrtle Beach community activist, Ed Silver, who attended the August 28th Insurance summit made some compelling points. Silver said, "In the four years since moving to S.C. I have had 3 different carriers of homeowner insurance (HOI) [Editor's note: Silver includes all the components of property insurance under HOI] because of continuous rate increases. In North Carolina, where I lived for 14 years, all of my insurance needs were covered by one company.

"After my second HOI carrier sent me a Dear Ed letter I wrote to Gov. Sanford with my concerns and received a non-responsive answer from the S.C Dept. of Insurance. It was nothing more than a listing of Horry County insurance Agents that I may want to contact regarding the purchase of HOI.

During the meeting he invoked the question, "does anyone wonder why we do not hear the same outrage and concerns from our neighbors in N.C.?

Silver presented an analysis he had done just the week before the summit, saying, "I did some research recently and found some examples or differences in costs between our northern neighbor and similar homes in S.C. A $235,000 home in Carolina Shores, N.C. pays $1294 per year for HOI, while the same makeup and valued home in Colonial Charters in Longs pays $2946. These are actual costs provided to me by Farm Bureau Insurance Co.

"HOI for my personal home, with a replacement value of $400,000 in North Myrtle Beach, I was quoted a price of $4853 per year by Travelers Insurance Company. The same style and replacement valued home in Sea Trail Plantation in Sunset Beach N.C. can be insured for $2285 per year by Travelers.

He continued by saying, "I challenge Senators Elliot and Rankin along with our other elected officials to do the same comparisons.

Asking, Silver said, "What's the difference? It's the same storms, the same ocean. I believe it's just a more competent Department of Insurance in N.C.

Pointing out that the Department of Insurance Director in N.C. answers to the public because it is an elected position, Silver said, "The Director must do a good job holding down costs or the electorate will vote him out. Contrast that with the same position in S.C. It is a political appointee of the Governor. Who does she answer too, certainly not the public as we do not have a say? Director Kitzman was quoted this past week in the Sun News that a 700% increase is a lot, but added, if no one else will write it for less I don't know how you can think it's that much.

Silver emphatically stated, "It is too much Director Kitzman and it's your job to get these rates in line!"

Concluding Silver said, "Could it be that the rates in N.C. are so much lower than those we are paying in S.C. because in N.C. the Director of Insurance, Jim Long, controls the Insurance Companies as to what they can charge but I feel the opposite effect in S.C., where the insurance companies control the Department of Insurance."

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