Under an agreement between the North Carolina Rate Bureau and the state’s insurance regulators that will roll back private auto insurance rates to 2006 levels and freeze them for two years, some North Carolina drivers will share a refund.

State Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin said some drivers will be receiving refund checks in the middle of next year. Rate changes go into effect November 1 and are retroactive to January 1 for a total savings of $545 million, reports the Associated Press.

The settlement with the North Carolina Rate Bureau, which comprises some 100 insurance companies, further eliminates the insurance industry's 2008 rate increase of 9.4% and denies a request for an extra 1.4% increase this year.

"In this economy, every dollar counts, and I am committed to protecting consumers through fair ratemaking," Goodwin said in a statement.

The agreement caps auto insurance rates for the period of 2006 to 2011, according to Goodwin. In addition, the rate bureau can't file for another increase until 2011.

But not everyone will get refunds, chiefly because many policyholders already have multiple-car and safe driver discounts, pointed out Johanna Royo, insurance department spokeswoman. Royo confirmed that there are 3.8 million policyholders in North Carolina. Approximately 1 million will be eligible for refunds of varying amounts.



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