N.C. Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin called an emergency press conference this afternoon to decry an addition to the state budget bill that would abolish the rate-making authority of his office.
The addition, Goodwin said, was made Monday, and his office was alerted Monday evening, Sue Stock reports on the .biz blog. There could be a vote on the bill as early as today.
Using phrases like "shocking" and "irresponsible government," Goodwin said that if passed, the bill would surely cause insurance rates for homes, vehicles and workers compensation to rise throughout the state.
"Working people do not need this piled on them," he said.
The motion to abolish the commissioner's authority and place the duties of regulating insurance rates in the hands of a seven-member panel is reminiscent of a bill introduced in 2007 that would have also relieved the commissioner of his rate-setting duties. That bill was eventually shelved.
This time around, Goodwin said he did not know who exactly was behind the addition to the bill.
"This happened so fast, in the cover of darkness, that I don't know who is behind it," he said. "I have my suspicions, but I don't know. ... We had this fight three years ago, and we fought it then. It's even more dangerous now."
UPDATE: Sen. Katie Dorsett, a Guildford County Democrat, said she anticipates an amendment to the budget to come forward today to remove the provision stripping the commissioner of his rate-making authorities. The amendment passed and the language was stripped from the bill.