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House approves Beach Plan insurance changes

The North Carolina House of Representatives has approved big changes in the property insurance pool known as the Beach Plan. Supporters of the measure say the current plan cannot cover the damage a major storm could inflict on the coast. But the changes could tap the wallets of inland homeowners. Insurers would be allowed to add a ten percent surcharge to policies statewide if a storm's price tag exceeds $2.4 billion. Critics say it's a handout to insurance companies. But Davidson County Republican Jerry Dockham says it's a necessary compromise. "We can put any regulation and any restriction on any insurance company we want to, but the bottom line is, they really don't have to do business in NC. And we don't want that. Because the fewer insurance companies we have in NC, the higher the rates we're going to have," Dockham says. The bill also slashes the Beach Plan's coverage cap by half, from $1.5 million per house to $750,000. The measure now heads for the Senate.