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North Carolina v. North Carolina Rate Bureau

Filed: November 17, 1981.

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EX REL. COMMISSIONER OF INSURANCE
v.
NORTH CAROLINA RATE BUREAU, TRAVELERS INSURANCE COMPANY, AETNA CASUALTY & SURETY COMPANY, AMERICAN MUTUAL LIABILITY INSURANCE COMPANY, STANDARD FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY, HOME INSURANCE COMPANY, HOME INDEMNITY INSURANCE COMPANY, LIBERTY MUTUAL FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY, LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, LUMBERMENS MUTUAL CASUALTY COMPANY, UNITED STATES FIDELITY & GUARANTY COMPANY, AMERICAN MOTORISTS INSURANCE COMPANY, FIDELITY & GUARANTY INSURANCE UNDERWRITERS, TRAVELERS INDEMNITY COMPANY, MARYLAND CASUALTY COMPANY, TRAVELERS INDEMNITY COMPANY OF RHODE ISLAND, PENNSYLVANIA NATIONAL MUTUAL CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY



Appeal by defendant Rate Bureau and constituent insurance companies from the Commissioner of Insurance. Order entered by the Commissioner of Insurance 25 November 1980. Heard in the Court of Appeals 14 October 1981.

Wells, Judge. Judges Martin (Robert) and Webb concur.

Wells

The standard of appellate review in this case is to be found in the provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act, particularly G.S. 150A-51*fn1 and the provisions of G.S. 58-9.6*fn2 See Commissioner Page 603} of Insurance v. Rate Bureau, 300 N.C. 381, 269 S.E.2d 547 (1980), rehearing denied, 301 N.C. 107, 273 S.E.2d 300 (1980). See also Brooks v. McWhirter Grading Co., Inc., 303 N.C. 573, 281 S.E.2d 24 (1981).

The principal issue presented in this appeal is whether Deputy Commissioner Wray acted in excess of his statutory authority in denying the filing on the grounds that the requested rates were inadequate. We hold that the disputed order exceeds the statutory authority of the Commissioner of Insurance. We reverse and vacate the order.

The statutory scheme under which rates for Workers' Compensation insurance were to be set at the time of the filing at issue in this case is set out in the 1979 Cumulative Supplement to Vol. 2B of the General Statutes, under Article 12B of Chapter 58 of the General Statutes.*fn3 For a thorough discussion of the statutory scheme for establishing Workers' Compensation insurance rates, See Commissioner of Insurance v. Rate Bureau, 40 N.C. App. 85, 252 S.E.2d 811 (1979), disc. rev. denied 297 N.C. 452, 256 S.E.2d 810 (1979).

Deputy Commissioner Wray's order, in pertinent part, is as follows:

Findings Of Fact

1. The Bureau made a filing for revised workers' compensation insurance rates on August 27, 1980.

2. Said filing proposed an average increase of 12.4% in the overall level of workers' compensation rates and rating values presently in force in North Carolina.

3. The filing proposes to implement a 12.4% overall rate increase effective January 1, 1981 which represents approximately a $21,800,000 increase in premiums.

17. Actuarially, the rates proposed by the filing (Exhibit RB-5) will not produce a total amount of adequate premium to cover all ...


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