The North Carolina Guide to Property Insurance Claims: Deadlines, Laws, and FAQs

Fact checked by Brelly Legal Team
Last updated on September 26, 2023

Dealing with a property insurance claim in North Carolina? Expect a maze of documents, deadlines, and questions—all of which can leave you scratching your head on where to start.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.  Based on detailed research and hands-on experience from attorneys and adjusters, we’ve compiled the important deadlines, frequently asked questions, and relevant statutes that you need to know to move your claim forward and get your life back on track.

30
DAYS

Make Your Claim

A North Carolina insurance company must acknowledge your claim within 30 days of receiving notice of the claim.
60
DAYS

Prove Your Loss

You generally have 60 days to submit a signed and sworn proof of loss to your insurer.
60
DAYS

Get Your Check

A North Carolina insurance company must pay a policyholder within 60 days after receiving a proof of loss and making a final determination on the loss either by a written agreement or by the filing of an award.

North Carolina Property Claim FAQs

We know you have tons of questions about property claims in North Carolina, and we’re here to answer them. We also know that there’s tons of misinformation out there that gets passed around as perceived wisdom but is too often wrong. That’s why at Brelly we take the time to do it right, with answers to common insurance claim questions that are based on careful research and real-world experience.

Making Your Claim – Frequently Asked Questions

Your property insurance claim journey starts with a simple step: tell your insurance company about your losses. This not only gets the ball rolling on your claim, but it also checks a box in your list of “duties after loss” under your insurance policy.


When should I notify my insurer about property damage?

In North Carolina, you must give “immediate written notice” to your insurer of any loss after a loss occurs to initiate your claim, i.e. a First Notice of Loss.

A more specific deadline for giving your insurance company notice of your loss may be included in the terms of your insurance policy. And what counts as “immediate” may depend on the circumstances of your loss.

Is there a statutory deadline in North Carolina to file a property insurance claim?

No, North Carolina does not have a statute that requires you to file a claim within a certain amount of time.  But don’t forget about the language in your policy, which almost always requires prompt or immediate notice of a loss to your insurer.

Plus, it’s in your best interest to file a claim as soon as you know that your losses will exceed your deductible. The longer you wait to file your claim, the longer it will take to resolve your claim.  By dragging your feet on filing a claim you also run the risk that relevant evidence will degrade or deteriorate.

Once I’ve filed my claim, when should I hear back from my insurance company?

Your insurer must acknowledge your claim within 30 days of receiving notice of your claim (but only if the notice includes enough information for your insurance company to identify the specific type of coverage involved).

If your insurer does not acknowledge your claim within this time frame, it may face a civil penalty by the Commissioner of Insurance. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-3-100.

Also, even if your claim does not include enough information for your insurer to identify the specific type of coverage involved, your insurer must still acknowledge your claim reasonably promptly. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-63-15(11).

Your insurance company can acknowledge your claim by notifying you that your claim is being investigated, paying your claim outright, offering to settle, or denying your claim. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-3-100.

 

Do I have to submit anything else?

This depends on your insurance policy, but most insurance companies will require you to submit a proof of loss (more on that below).

Note that in North Carolina, every insurer is required to provide you with a proof of loss form if they require you to submit one. Insurers must provide you with a proof of loss form within 15 days of receiving notification of your claim. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-3-40.

Proving Your Loss – Frequently Asked Questions

Post notification, your task is to prove your losses to your insurer—a critical and sometimes tricky phase in the claim process. Thankfully, the North Carolina Insurance Code offers a helping hand here. Explore further to understand the how.


When should my insurer begin to investigate my claim?

Your insurer should begin to investigate your claim after receiving a properly executed proof of loss.

However, this depends on your particular insurance policy. North Carolina law only states that that insurance companies must have “reasonable standards for the prompt investigation of claims,” so that timeframe may be different for different policies. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-63-15(11).

Where can I find a proof of loss form?

If your insurance company requires you to submit a written proof of loss after notifying them of a loss, your insurance company is required to provide you with a proof of loss form. The company must provide you with a proof of loss form within 15 days of being notified of your loss.

If the company does not provide you with a proof of loss form within 15 days, then any written proof that includes the “occurrence, character, and extent of the loss” is considered to be in compliance with the insurer’s proof of loss requirements (as long as it’s submitted within the deadline set in your policy for filing a proof of loss). N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-3-40.

How long do I have to submit my proof of loss?

You are required to submit a proof of loss within 60 days after the loss. You must sign and swear to the information included in your proof of loss, which must contain certain information like when and how the loss occurred, and if you have any other forms of insurance on the property. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-44-16(13).

If the whole state or the area in which you live is under a state of disaster declaration, then this strict deadline is paused. The pause ends when the disaster declaration ends, or the Commissioner of Insurance decides that the declaration no longer applies to the insurance claim process. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-2-46.

I accidentally submitted my proof of loss form late — is that a problem?

You should always comply with any deadlines in your insurance policy.

However, in North Carolina, if your claim is contested in court, the fact that you did not submit your proof of loss on time is not a reason for your insurer to deny liability. To note, you must have submitted your proof of loss late for a good reason, and the lateness must not harm the insurance company’s ability to defend it having liability for your claim. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-44-50.

What if my insurance company doesn’t request a proof of loss?

It is standard requirement in North Carolina that claimants submit a proof of loss within 60 days after the loss. N.C. Gen. Stat. §58-44-16(13).

However, double check your insurance policy for definitive guidance — in most cases you’re not required to submit a proof of loss unless your insurance company requests it.

Getting Your Check – Frequently Asked Questions

Receiving a payout for your losses—this is the pay-off for all those premiums you’ve paid. Uncover the answers to the pressing questions that arise during this final stage of your insurance claim.

 


When is the deadline for my insurance company to make a decision on my claim?

There is no specific deadline by when an insurance company must settle your claim in North Carolina.

However, your insurer must affirm or deny coverage of your claim within a “reasonable time period” after receiving your proof of loss. If your insurer makes a habit of not doing so, it may be penalized by the Commissioner of Insurance. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-63-15(11), 20, 25, 32, 50.

Any denial of a claim or any offer to settle a claim must be in writing and provide the policy provision or other legal basis used in its decision. 11 N.C. Admin. Code 04.0117.

Do I have any protections during the claim settlement practice? Or is it all just up to my insurance company?

Yes, you do. North Carolina law gives protections for claimants when going through the insurance claim process.
Your insurance company must – by law — approach the claim process reasonably and fairly. It must do things like conduct a reasonable investigation before refusing to pay a claim, offer only reasonable settlement amounts, and attempt in good faith to settle your claim promptly, fairly, and equitably once liability on the claim becomes clear. N.C. Gen. Stat. §58-63-15(11). If it does not, then it may be investigated and penalized by the Commissioner of Insurance, and even have its license revoked. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-63-15(11), 20, 25, 32, 50; N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-3-100.

What is the deadline in North Carolina for my insurer to pay my claim?

The deadline for your insurer to pay your claim is 60 days after (1) receiving your proof of loss; and (2) making a final determination of the extent of your loss either by written agreement or by the filing of an award as provided in your policy. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-44-16(17).

What is the statute of limitations for a property insurance claim in North Carolina?

Three years.

Exactly when the three-year limitation period begins to run depends on the nature of the underlying insurance policy. If the insurance policy constitutes a fire policy under General Statute § 58-44-16, then the three-year limitation period starts on the date of loss. N.C. Gen. Stat § 1-52(12).  If the policy is not subject to § 58-44-16, then the three-year limitation period begins to run when the breach of the insurance contract occurs. N.C. Gen. Stat § 1-52(1).  For a helpful explanation of the difference between these two limitation periods, see Skyline Restoration, Inc. v. Church Mut. Ins. Co., 20 F.4th 825, 830 (4th Cir. 2021).

North Carolina Laws & Statutes That Impact Your Insurance Claim

North Carolina has a large collection of laws applicable to the insurance claims process for homeowners. Here is a selection of relevant statutes that will help you with the process, housed within the chapter on Insurance in the North Carolina General Statutes and in the North Carolina Administrative Code’s section on Insurance.


N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-52(12) — Three Years (Statute of Limitations)

Within three years an action –

(1) Upon a contract, obligation or liability arising out of a contract, express or
implied, except those mentioned in the preceding sections or in G.S. 1-53(1).

. . . .

(12) Upon a claim for loss covered by an insurance policy that is subject to the three-year limitation contained in G.S. 58-44-16. . . .

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-52(12).  (See our statute of limitation FAQ for more information)

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-2-46 — State of Disaster Automatic Stay of Proof of Loss Requirements; Premium and Debt Deferrals

(a) Whenever (i) a state of disaster is proclaimed for the State or for an area within the State under G.S. 166A-19.21 or whenever the President of the United States has issued a major disaster declaration for the State or for an area within the State under the Stafford Act, 42 U.S.C. § 5121, et seq., as amended and (ii) if the Commissioner has issued an order declaring this section effective for the specific disaster:

(1) Proof of loss stayed. – The application of any provision in an insurance policy insuring real property and its contents that are located within the designated area in the proclamation or declaration, which provision requires an insured to file a proof of loss within a certain period of time after the occurrence of the loss, shall be stayed for the time period not exceeding the earlier of (i) the expiration of the disaster proclamation or declaration and all renewals of the proclamation or (ii) the expiration of the Commissioner’s order declaring this section effective for the specific disaster.

. . . .

(b) In addition to the requirements set forth in subdivisions (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this section, the following shall apply to:

(1) Property and casualty insurance. – With respect to property and casualty insurance companies and insurance policies that insure customers or policyholders who reside in the designated area in the proclamation or declaration described in subsection (a) of this section and who have been displaced from their residences, the following provisions shall apply:

a. After a deferral period has expired, all premium payments in arrears under a property and casualty insurance policy or contract shall be due and payable to the insurance company. If the premium payments in arrears are not paid, the insurance company may cancel the insurance policy or contract on or after the fifteenth day following the expiration of the deferral period. All cancellation notice requirements are still applicable under this section.

b. All property and casualty insurance policies or contracts with a properly noticed cancellation for nonpayment effective on or prior to the date the Commissioner has issued an order under this section may be cancelled and such cancellations shall remain valid and effective. All cancellations for nonpayment of insurance policies or contracts scheduled to be effective after the deferral period has commenced must be deferred until the deferral period has expired. If necessary to comply with statute, a cancellation deferred under this subsection must be properly noticed again with an effective date after the expiration of the deferral period. Cancellations for cause that have been properly noticed, including cancellations for material misrepresentation or ineligible risk, may continue to be processed during the deferral period.

c. All property and casualty insurance policies or contracts with a nonrenewal effective date on or prior to the date the Commissioner has issued an order under this section may be processed. All property and casualty insurance policies or contracts with a properly noticed nonrenewal effective after the commencement of the deferred period shall be deferred until the expiration of the deferral period. A nonrenewal deferred under this subsection shall be properly noticed again with an effective date after the expiration of the deferral period.

d. This subsection shall not apply to property and casualty insurance policies or contracts entered into on or after the date the Commissioner has issued an order declaring this section effective for the specific disaster.

. . . .

(c) If the proclamation or declaration is the result of a public health emergency as determined by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 247d, or other situations where the Governor has, by executive order, ordered all individuals in North Carolina to stay at home or at their place of residence, the following provisions shall apply:

(1) Property and casualty insurance companies and premium finance companies. – Property and casualty insurance companies and premium finance companies subject to this Chapter shall give notice to their customers or policyholders who reside within the designated area in the proclamation or declaration of the option of deferring premium payments that are due during the time period covered by the Commissioner’s order declaring this section effective for a specific public health emergency or situation that may require the citizens of North Carolina to shelter in place. The deferral period shall be 30 days from the last day the premium or debt payment may be made under the terms of the policy or contract or premium finance agreement.

a. When providing notice to customers or policyholders of the option to defer premium payments, property and casualty insurance companies and premium finance companies shall do all of the following:

1. Advise their customers or policyholders of their right to defer their premium and provide the steps required to defer their premium.

2. Allow for deferral requests from customers or policyholders to be communicated verbally or by electronic means. Written requests for deferral shall not be required.

b. After required notification is provided, nonpayment will result in a cancellation to be effective on or after the fifteenth day following the expiration of the deferral period.

c. After a deferral period has expired, all premium payments in arrears under a property and casualty insurance policy or premium finance agreement shall be due and payable to the insurance company or premium finance company. If the premium payments in arrears are not paid, the property and casualty insurance company or premium finance company may cancel the insurance policies or premium finance agreements that were financed on or after the fifteenth day following the expiration of the deferral period. All cancellation notice requirements are still applicable under this section.

d. This section shall not apply to property and casualty insurance policies or contracts entered into on or after the date the Commissioner has issued an order under this section.

(2) Policy nonrenewals and cancellations not prohibited. – Nothing in this subsection prohibits property and casualty insurance companies from not renewing or cancelling a policy during a public health emergency or situation that may require all individuals in North Carolina to stay at home.

. . .

(4) Deferral period limited in applicability. – For a public health emergency or situation that may require all individuals in North Carolina to stay at home, the deferral period shall not apply to time limitations imposed by any statute, rule, or other policy or contract provision or to the transmittal of information or communications related to insurance policies, premium finance agreements, or debt instruments, except as specifically provided for in this subsection.

(5) Exclusions. – This subsection shall not apply to situations that involve enemy attack, invasion, insurrection, riot, rebellion, revolution, civil war or commotion, or military or usurped power.

(d) The Commissioner may extend any deferral period in this section, depending on the nature and severity of the proclaimed or declared disaster or event. No additional rate or contract filing shall be necessary to effect any deferral period.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-2-46.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-3-40 — Proof of loss forms required to be furnished

When any company under any insurance policy requires a written proof of loss after notice of such loss has been given by the insured or beneficiary, the company or its representative shall furnish a blank to be used for that purpose. If such forms are not so furnished within 15 days after the receipt of such notice the claimant shall be deemed to have complied with the requirements of this policy as to proof of loss, upon submitting within the time fixed in the policy for filing proofs of loss, written proof covering the occurrence, character, and extent of the loss for which claim is made.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-3-40.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-3-100 — Insurance Company Licensing Provisions

(a) The Commissioner may, after notice and opportunity for a hearing, revoke, suspend, or restrict the license of any insurer if:

(1) The insurer fails or refuses to comply with any law, order or rule applicable to the insurer.

(2) After considering the standards under G.S. 58-30-60(b), the Commissioner determines that the continued operation of the insurer is hazardous to its policyholders, to its creditors, or to the general public.

(3)  The insurer has published or made to the Department or to the public any false statement or report.

(4) The insurer or any of the insurer’s officers, directors, employees, or other representatives refuse to submit to any examination authorized by law or refuse to perform any legal obligation in relation to an examination.

(5) The insurer is found to make a practice of unduly engaging in litigation or of delaying the investigation of claims or the adjustment or payment of valid claims.

(b) Any suspension, revocation or refusal to renew an insurer’s license under this section may also be made applicable to the license or registration of any individual regulated under this Chapter who is a party to any of the causes for licensing sanctions listed in subsection (a) of this section.

(c) The Commissioner may impose a civil penalty under G.S. 58-2-70 if an . . . insurer fails to acknowledge a claim within 30 days after receiving written or electronic notice of the claim, but only if the notice contains sufficient information for the insurer to identify the specific coverage involved. Acknowledgement of the claim shall be one of the following:

(1) A statement made to the claimant or to the claimant’s legal representative advising that the claim is being investigated.

(2) Payment of the claim.

(3) A bona fide written offer of settlement.

(4) A written denial of the claim.

A claimant includes an insured, a beneficiary of a life or annuity contract, a health care provider, or a health care facility that is responsible for directly making the claim with an insurer, HMO, service corporation, or MEWA. . . . This subsection does not apply to HMOs, service corporations, MEWAs or insurers subject to G.S. 58-3-225 [Prompt claim payments under health benefit plans].

. . .

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-3-100.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-3-120 — Discrimination Forbidden

(a) No company doing the business of insurance as defined in G.S. 58-7-15 shall make any discrimination in favor of any person.

(b) Discrimination between individuals of the same class in the amount of premiums or rates charged for any policy of insurance covered by Articles 50 through 55 of this Chapter, or in the benefits payable thereon, or in any of the terms or conditions of such policy, or in any other manner whatsoever, is prohibited.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-3-120.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-44-1 — Terms and Conditions Must Be Set Out in Policy

In all insurance against loss by fire the conditions of insurance must be stated in full, and the rules and bylaws of the company are not a warranty or a part of the contract, except as incorporated in full into the policy.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-44-1.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-44-16 — Fire Insurance Policies; Standard Fire Insurance Policy Provisions

(a) The provisions of a fire insurance policy, as set forth in subsection (f) of this section, shall be known and designated as the “standard fire insurance policy.”

(b) With the exception of policies covering (i) automobile fire, theft, comprehensive, and collision or (ii) marine and inland marine insurance, no fire insurance policy shall be made, issued, or delivered by any insurer or by any agent or representative of the insurer on any property in this State, unless it conforms in substance with all of the provisions, stipulations, agreements, and conditions in subsection (f) of this section.

(c) There shall be printed at the head of the policy the name of the insurer or insurers issuing the policy; the location of the home office of the insurer or insurers; a statement whether the insurer or insurers are stock or mutual corporations or are reciprocal insurers. This section does not limit an insurer to the use of any particular size or manner of folding the paper upon which the policy is printed; provided, however, that any insurer organized under special charter provisions may so indicate upon its policy and add a statement of the plan under which it operates in this State.

(d) The standard fire insurance policy need not be used for effecting reinsurance between insurers.

(e) The provisions of the standard fire policy are stated in this section and shall be incorporated in fire insurance policies subject to this section. If any conditions of this section are construed to be more liberal than any other policy conditions relating to the perils of fire, lightning, or removal, the provisions of this section shall apply.

(f) The following subdivisions comprise all of the provisions, stipulations, agreements, and conditions of the standard fire insurance policy:

(1) General provisions. – In consideration of the provisions, stipulations, agreements, and conditions in this policy or added to this policy, and of the premium specified in the declarations or in endorsements made a part of this policy, this insurer, for the term of years specified in the declarations from inception date shown in the declarations at 12:01 A.M. to expiration date shown in the declarations at 12:01 A.M. at the location of the property covered, to an amount not exceeding the limit of liability specified in the declarations, does insure the insured named in the declarations and legal representatives to the extent of the actual cash value of the property at the time of loss but not exceeding the amount that it would cost to repair or replace the property with material of like kind and quality within a reasonable time after the loss, without allowance for any increased cost of repair or reconstruction by reason of any ordinance or law regulating construction or repair and without compensation for loss resulting from interruption of business or manufacture, nor in any event for more than the interest of the insured against all direct loss by fire, lightning, and other perils insured against in this policy, including removal from premises endangered by the perils insured against in this policy, except as hereinafter provided, to the property described in the declarations while located or contained as described in this policy, or pro rata for five days at each proper place to which any of the property shall necessarily be removed for preservation from the perils insured against in this policy but not elsewhere. Assignment of this policy shall not be valid except with the written consent of this insurer. This policy is made and accepted subject to the provisions, stipulations, agreements, and conditions in this section, which are hereby made a part of this policy, together with such other provisions, stipulations, agreements, and conditions that may be added to this policy as provided in this policy.

(2) Concealment or fraud. – This entire policy shall be void if, whether before or after a loss, the insured has willfully concealed or misrepresented any material fact or circumstance concerning this insurance or the subject of this insurance, or the interest of the insured in the subject of this insurance, or in the case of any fraud or false swearing by the insured relating the subject of this insurance.

(3) Uninsurable and excepted property. – This policy shall not cover accounts, bills, currency, deeds, evidences of debt, money, or securities; nor, unless specifically named in this policy in writing, bullion or manuscripts.

(4) Perils not included. – This insurer shall not be liable for loss by fire or other perils insured against in this policy caused, directly or indirectly, by enemy attack by armed forces, including action taken by military, naval, or air forces in resisting an actual or an immediately impending enemy attack; invasion; insurrection; rebellion; revolution; civil war; usurped power; order of any civil authority except acts of destruction at the time of and for the purpose of preventing the spread of fire, provided that the fire did not originate from any of the perils excluded by this policy; neglect of the insured to use all reasonable means to save and preserve the property at and after a loss, or when the property is endangered by fire in neighboring premises; or for loss by theft.

(5) Other insurance. – Other insurance may be prohibited or the amount of insurance may be limited by endorsement attached to this policy.

(6) Conditions suspending or restricting insurance. – Unless otherwise provided in writing added to this policy, this insurer shall not be liable for loss occurring:

a. While the hazard is increased by any means within the control or knowledge of the insured;

b. While a described building, whether intended for occupancy by owner or tenant, is vacant or unoccupied beyond a period of 60 consecutive days; or

c. As a result of explosion or riot, unless fire ensues, and in that event for loss by fire only.

(7) Other perils or subjects. – Any other peril to be insured against or subject of insurance to be covered in this policy shall be by endorsement in writing on this policy or added to this policy.

(8) Added provisions. – The extent of the application of insurance under this policy and of the contribution to be made by this insurer in case of loss, and any other provision or agreement not inconsistent with the provisions of this policy, may be provided for in writing added to this policy; provided, however, no provision may be waived except such as by the terms of this policy is subject to change.

(9) Waiver provisions. – No permission affecting this insurance shall exist, or waiver of any provision be valid, unless granted in this policy or expressed in writing added to this policy. No provision, stipulation, or forfeiture shall be held to be waived by any requirement or proceeding on the part of this insurer relating to appraisal or to any examination provided for in this policy.

(10) Cancellation of policy. – This policy shall be cancelled at any time at the request of the insured, in which case this insurer shall, upon demand and surrender of this policy, refund the excess of paid premium above any short rates for the expired time. This policy may be cancelled at any time by this insurer by giving to the insured a five days’ written notice of cancellation with or without tender of the excess of paid premium above the pro rata premium for the expired time, which excess, if not tendered, shall be refunded on demand. Notice of cancellation shall state that said excess premium (if not tendered) will be refunded on demand.

(11) Mortgagee interests and obligations. – If loss is made payable, in whole or in part, to a designated mortgagee not named in this policy as the insured, such interest in this policy may be cancelled by giving to such a mortgagee a ten days’ written notice of cancellation. If the insured fails to render proof of loss, the mortgagee, upon notice, shall render proof of loss as specified in this policy within 60 days thereafter and shall be subject to the provisions of this policy relating to appraisal and time of payment and of bringing suit. If this insurer claims that no liability existed as to the mortgagor or owner, it shall, to the extent of payment of loss to the mortgagee, be subrogated to all the mortgagee’s rights of recovery, but without impairing the mortgagee’s right to sue; or this insurer may pay off the mortgage debt and require an assignment of that debt and of the mortgage. Other provisions relating to the interests and obligations of the mortgagee may be added to this policy by agreement in writing.

(12) Pro rata liability. – This insurer shall not be liable for a greater proportion of any loss than the amount insured by this policy bears to all insurance covering the property against the peril involved, whether collectible or not.

(13) Requirements in case loss occurs. – The insured shall give immediate written notice to this insurer of any loss, protect the property from further damage, forthwith separate the damaged and undamaged personal property, put it in the best possible order, and furnish a complete inventory of the destroyed, damaged, and undamaged property, showing in detail quantities, costs, actual cash value, and amount of loss claimed. Within 60 days after the loss, unless that time is extended in writing by this insurer, the insured shall render to this insurer a proof of loss, signed and sworn to by the insured, stating the knowledge and belief of the insured as to the following: the time and origin of the loss, the interest of the insured and of all others in the property, the actual cash value of each item of the property and the amount of loss to the property, all encumbrances on the property, all other contracts of insurance, whether valid or not, covering any of the property, any changes in the title, use, occupation, location, possession, or exposures of the property since the issuing of this policy, by whom and for what purpose any building described in this policy and the several parts of the building were occupied at the time of loss and whether or not it then stood on leased ground, and shall furnish a copy of all the descriptions and schedules in all policies and, if required, verified plans and specifications of any building, fixtures, or machinery destroyed or damaged. The insured, as often as may be reasonably required, shall exhibit to any person designated by this insurer all that remains of any property described in this policy, and submit to examinations under oath by any person named by this insurer, and subscribe the same; and, as often as may be reasonably required, shall produce for examination all books of account, bills, invoices, and other vouchers, or certified copies of them if originals are lost, at such reasonable time and place as may be designated by this insurer or its representative, and shall permit extracts and copies of them to be made.

(14) Appraisal. – If the insured and this insurer fail to agree as to the actual cash value or the amount of loss, then, on the written demand of either, each shall select a competent and disinterested appraiser and notify the other of the appraiser selected within 20 days after the demand. The appraisers shall first select a competent and disinterested umpire; and failing for 15 days to agree upon a competent and disinterested umpire, on the request of the insured or this insurer, a competent and disinterested umpire shall be selected by a judge of a court of record in the state in which the property covered is located. The appraisers shall then appraise the loss, stating separately actual cash value and loss to each item; and, failing to agree, shall submit only their differences to the umpire. An award in writing, so itemized, of any two when filed with this insurer shall determine the amount of actual cash value and loss. Each appraiser shall be paid by the party selecting him and the expenses of appraisal and umpire shall be paid by the parties equally.

(15) Company’s options. – It shall be optional with this insurer to take all, or any part, of the property at the agreed or appraised value and also to repair, rebuild, or replace the property destroyed or damaged with other of like kind and quality within a reasonable time, on giving notice of its intention so to do within 30 days after the receipt of the proof of loss required in this policy.

(16) Abandonment. – There can be no abandonment to this insurer of any property.

(17) When loss payable. – The amount of loss for which this insurer may be liable shall be payable 60 days after proof of loss, as provided in this policy, is received by this insurer and ascertainment of the loss is made either by written agreement between the insured and this insurer or by the filing with this insurer of an award as provided in this policy.

(18) Suit. – No suit or action on this policy for the recovery of any claim shall be sustainable in any court of law unless all the requirements of this policy have been complied with and unless commenced within three years after inception of the loss.

(19) Subrogation. – This insurer may require from the insured an assignment of all rights of recovery against a party for loss to the extent that payment therefor is made by this insurer.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-44-16.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-44-20 — Standard Policy; Permissible Variations

With the exception of policies covering (i) automobile fire, theft, comprehensive, and collision or (ii) marine and inland marine insurance, no fire insurance company shall issue fire insurance policies on property in this State other than those containing the provisions set forth in G.S. 58-44-16 except as follows:

(1) A company may print on or in its policies the date of incorporation, the amount of its paid-up capital stock, the names of its officers, and to the words at the top of the back of said policy, “Standard Fire Insurance Policy for” may be added after or before the words “North Carolina” the names of any states or political jurisdiction in which the said policy form may be standard when the policy is used.

(2) A company may print in its policies or use in its policies written or printed forms of description and specification of the property insured.

(3) A company may write or print upon the margin or across the face of a policy, in unused spaces or upon separate slips or riders to be attached thereto, provisions adding to or modifying those contained in the standard form, and all such slips, riders, and provisions must be signed by an officer or agent of the company so using them. Provided, however, such provisions shall not have the effect of making the provisions of the standard policy form more restrictive except for such restrictions as are provided for in the charter or bylaws of a domestic mutual fire insurance company doing business in no more than three adjacent counties of the State and chiefly engaged in writing policies of insurance on rural properties upon an assessment or nonpremium basis, provided all such restrictions contained in the charter and bylaws of such domestic mutual fire insurance company shall be actually included within the printed terms of the policy contract so affected as a condition precedent to their being effective and binding on any policyholder. The iron safe or any similar clause requiring the taking of inventories, the keeping of books and producing the same in the adjustment of any loss, shall not be used or operative in the settlement of losses on buildings, furniture and fixtures, or any property not subject to any change in bulk and value.

(4) Binders or other contracts for temporary insurance may be made, orally or in writing, for a period which shall not exceed 60 days, and shall be deemed to include all the terms of such standard fire insurance policy and all such applicable endorsements, approved by the Commissioner, as may be designated in such contract of temporary insurance; except that the cancellation clause of such standard fire insurance policy, and the clause thereof specifying the hour of the day at which the insurance shall commence, may be superseded by the express terms of such contract of temporary insurance.

(5) Two or more companies authorized to do in this State the business of fire insurance, may, with the approval of the Commissioner, issue a combination standard form of fire insurance policy which shall contain the following provisions:

a. A provision substantially to the effect that the insurers executing such policy shall be severally liable for the full amount of any loss or damage, according to the terms of the policy, or for specified percentages or amounts thereof, aggregating the full amount of such insurance under such policy.

b. A provision substantially to the effect that service of process, or of any notice or proof of loss required by such policy, upon any of the companies executing such policy, shall be deemed to be service upon all such insurers.

(6) Appropriate forms of supplemental contract or contracts or extended coverage endorsements and other endorsements whereby the interest in the property described in such policy shall be insured against one or more of the perils which the company is empowered to assume, in addition to the perils covered by said standard fire insurance policy may be approved by the Commissioner, and their use in connection with a standard fire insurance policy may be authorized by him. In his discretion the Commissioner may authorize the printing of such supplemental contract or contracts or extended coverage endorsements and other endorsements in the substance of the form of the standard fire insurance policy. The first page of the policy may in form approved by the Commissioner be arranged to provide space for listing of amounts of insurance, rates and premiums, description of construction, occupancy and location of property covered for the basic coverages insured under the standard form of policy and for additional coverages or perils insured under endorsements attached or printed therein, and such other data as may be conveniently included for duplication on daily reports for office records.

(7) A company may print on or in its policy, with the approval of the Commissioner, any provisions which it is required by law to insert in its policies not in conflict with the substance of provisions of such standard form. Such provisions shall be printed apart from the other provisions, agreements, or conditions of the policy, under a separate title, as follows: “Provisions Required by Law to Be Inserted in This Policy.”

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-44-20.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-44-50 — Bar to Defense of Failure to Render Timely Proof of Loss

In any action brought to enforce an insurance policy subject to the provisions of this Article, any party claiming benefit under the policy may reply to the pleading of any other party against whom liability is sought which asserts as a defense, the failure to render timely proof of loss as required by the terms of the policy that such failure was for good cause and that the failure to render timely proof of loss has not substantially harmed the party against whom liability is sought in his ability to defend. The issues raised by such reply shall be determined by the jury if jury trial has been demanded.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-44-50.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-44-60 — Notice to Property Insurance Policyholder About Flood, Earthquake, Mudslide, Mudflow, Landslide, and Windstorm or Hail Insurance Coverage

(a) Every insurer that sells residential or commercial property insurance policies that do not provide coverage for the perils of flood, earthquake, mudslide, mudflow, landslide, or windstorm or hail shall, upon the issuance and renewal of each policy, identify to the policyholder which of these perils are not covered under the policy. The insurer shall print the following warning, citing which peril is not covered, in Times New Roman 16-point font or other equivalent font and include it in the policy on a separate page immediately before the declarations page:

“WARNING: THIS PROPERTY INSURANCE POLICY DOES NOT PROTECT YOU AGAINST LOSSES FROM [FLOODS], [EARTHQUAKES], [MUDSLIDES], [MUDFLOWS], [LANDSLIDES], [WINDSTORM OR HAIL]. YOU SHOULD CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY OR AGENT TO DISCUSS YOUR OPTIONS FOR OBTAINING COVERAGE FOR THESE LOSSES. THIS IS NOT A COMPLETE LISTING OF ALL OF THE CAUSES OF LOSSES NOT COVERED UNDER YOUR POLICY. YOU SHOULD READ YOUR ENTIRE POLICY TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IS COVERED AND WHAT IS NOT COVERED.”

(b) As used in this section, “insurer” includes an entity that sells property insurance under Articles 21, 45, or 46 of this Chapter.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-44-60.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-44-70 — Purpose and Scope [re: Mediation of Emergency or Disaster-Related Property Insurance Claims]

(a) This Part provides for a nonadversarial alternative dispute resolution procedure for a facilitated claim resolution conference prompted by the critical need for effective, fair, and timely handling of insurance claims arising out of damages to residential property as the result of an event for which there is a state of disaster declared within 60 days of the event. This Part applies only (i) if a state of disaster has been proclaimed for the State or for an area within the State by the Governor or by a resolution of the General Assembly under G.S. 166A-19.21 or (ii) if the President of the United States has issued a major disaster declaration for the State or for an area within the State under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. § 5121, et seq., as amended; and (iii) if the Commissioner issues an order establishing the mediation procedure authorized by this Part.

(b) The procedure authorized by this Part is available to all first-party claimants who have insurance claims resulting from damage to residential property occurring in this State. This Part does not apply to commercial insurance, motor vehicle insurance, or to liability coverage contained in property insurance policies.

. . .

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-44-70.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-44-75 — Definitions [re: Mediation of Emergency or Disaster-Related Property Insurance Claims]

As used in this Part:

(1) Administrator. – The Commissioner or the Commissioner’s designee; and the term is used interchangeably with regard to the Commissioner’s duties under this Part.

. . .

(3) Disputed claim. – Any matter on which there is a dispute as to the cause of loss or amount of loss, for which the insurer has denied payment, in part or whole, with respect to claims arising from a disaster. Unless the parties agree to mediate a disputed claim involving a lesser amount, a “disputed claim” involves the insured requesting one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500) or more to settle the dispute, or the difference between the positions of the parties is one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500) or more. “Disputed claim” does not include a dispute with respect to which the insurer has reported allegations of fraud, based on a referral to the insurer’s special investigative unit, to the Commissioner. A disputed claim does not include one in which there has been a denial of coverage for the loss because of exclusions in the policy, terms in the policy, conditions in the policy, or nonexistence of the policy at the time of the loss.

(4) Mediation. – As defined in G.S. 7A-38.1(b)(2).

(5) Mediator. – A neutral person who acts to encourage and facilitate a resolution of a claim.

(6) Party or parties. – The insured and his or her insurer, including a surplus lines insurer and the underwriting associations in Articles 45 and 46 of this Chapter, when applicable.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-44-75.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-44-80 — Notification of Right to Mediate [re: Mediation of Emergency or Disaster-Related Property Insurance Claims]

(a) Insurers shall notify their insureds in this State who have claimed damage to their residential properties as a result of a disaster of their right to mediate disputed claims. This requirement applies to all disputed claims, including instances where checks have been issued by the insurer to the insured.

(b) The insurer shall mail the notice described in subsection (a) of this section to an insured within five days after the time the insured or the Administrator notifies the insurer of a dispute regarding the insured’s claim. The following apply:

(1) If the insurer has not been notified of a disputed claim before the time an insurer notifies the insured that a claim has been denied in whole or in part, the insurer shall mail a notice of the right to mediate to the insured in the same mailing as the notice of denial.

(2) The insurer is not required to send a notice of the right to mediate if a claim is denied because the amount of the claim is less than the insured’s deductible.

(3) The mailing that contains the notice of the right to mediate shall include any consumer brochure on mediation developed by the Commissioner.

(4) Notification shall be in writing and shall be legible, conspicuous, and printed in at least 12-point type.

(5) The first paragraph of the notice shall contain the following statement: “The General Assembly of North Carolina has enacted a law to facilitate fair and timely handling of residential property insurance claims arising out of disasters. The law gives you the right to attend a mediation conference with your insurer in order to settle any dispute you have with your insurer about your claim. An independent mediator, who has no connection with your insurer, will be in charge of the mediation conference.”

(c) The notice shall also:

(1) Include detailed instructions on how the insured is to request mediation, including name, address, and phone and fax numbers for requesting mediation through the Administrator.

(2) Include the insurer’s address and phone number for requesting additional information.

(3) State that the Administrator will select the mediator.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-44-80.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-44-85 — Request for Mediation

(a) If an insured requests mediation before receipt of the notice of the right to mediate or if the date of the notice cannot be established, the insurer shall be notified by the Administrator of the existence of the dispute before the Administrator processes the insured’s request for mediation. An insured must request mediation within 60 days after the denial of the claim; failure to request mediation within this time period shall only bar the right to demand mediation; it shall not prejudice any other legal right or remedy of the insured nor prohibit the insurer from voluntarily accepting the request for mediation.

(b) If an insurer receives a request for mediation, the insurer shall electronically transmit the request to the Administrator within three business days after receipt of the request. If the Department receives any requests, it shall electronically transmit those requests to the Administrator within three business days after receipt. The Administrator shall notify the insurer within 48 hours after receipt of a request that has been filed with the Department.

(c) In the insured’s request for mediation, the insured shall provide the following information, if known:

(1) Name, address, and daytime telephone number of the insured and location of the property if different from the address given.

(2) The claim and policy number for the insured.

(3) A brief description of the nature of the dispute.

(4) The name of the insurer and the name, address, and phone number of the contact person for scheduling mediation.

(5) Information with respect to any other policies of insurance that may provide coverage of the insured property for named perils such as flood, earthquake, or windstorm.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-44-85.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-63-10 — Unfair Methods of Competition or Unfair and Deceptive Acts or Practices Prohibited

No person shall engage in this State in any trade practice which is defined in this Article as or determined pursuant to this Article to be an unfair method of competition or an unfair or deceptive act or practice in the business of insurance.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-63-10.

 

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-63-15 — Unfair Methods of Competition and Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices Defined

The following are hereby defined as unfair methods of competition and unfair and deceptive acts or practices in the business of insurance:

(1) Misrepresentations and False Advertising of Policy Contracts. – Making, issuing, circulating, or causing to be made, issued or circulated, any estimate, illustration, circular or statement misrepresenting the terms of any policy issued or to be issued or the benefits or advantages promised thereby or the dividends or share of the surplus to be received thereon, or making any false or misleading statement as to the dividends or share or surplus previously paid on similar policies, or making any misleading representation or any misrepresentation as to the financial condition of any insurer, or as to the legal reserve system upon which any life insurer operates, or using any name or title of any policy or class of policies misrepresenting the true nature thereof, or making any misrepresentation to any policyholder insured in any company for the purpose of inducing or tending to induce such policyholder to lapse, forfeit, or surrender his insurance.

(2)        False Information and Advertising Generally. – Making, publishing, disseminating, circulating, or placing before the public, or causing, directly or indirectly, to be made, published, disseminated, circulated, or placed before the public, in a newspaper, magazine or other publication, or in the form of a notice, circular, pamphlet, letter or poster, or over any radio station, or in any other way, an advertisement, announcement or statement containing any assertion, representation or statement with respect to the business of insurance or with respect to any person in the conduct of his insurance business, which is untrue, deceptive or misleading.

. . . .

(7) Unfair Discrimination. –

. . . .

c. Making or permitting any unfair discrimination between or among individuals or risks of the same class and of essentially the same hazard by refusing to issue, refusing to renew, cancelling, or limiting the amount of insurance coverage on a property or casualty risk because of the geographic location of the risk, unless:

1. The refusal or limitation is for the purpose of preserving the solvency of the insurer and is not a mere pretext for unfair discrimination, or

2. The refusal, cancellation, or limitation is required by law.

d. Making or permitting any unfair discrimination between or among individuals or risks of the same class and of essentially the same hazard by refusing to issue, refusing to renew, cancelling, or limiting the amount of insurance coverage on a residential property risk, or the personal property contained therein, because of the age of the residential property, unless:

1. The refusal or limitation is for the purpose of preserving the solvency of the insurer and is not a mere pretext for unfair discrimination, or

2. The refusal, cancellation, or limitation is required by law.

. . . .

(11) Unfair Claim Settlement Practices. – Committing or performing with such frequency as to indicate a general business practice of any of the following: Provided, however, that no violation of this subsection shall of itself create any cause of action in favor of any person other than the Commissioner:

a. Misrepresenting pertinent facts or insurance policy provisions relating to coverages at issue;

b. Failing to acknowledge and act reasonably promptly upon communications with respect to claims arising under insurance policies;

c. Failing to adopt and implement reasonable standards for the prompt investigation of claims arising under insurance policies;

d. Refusing to pay claims without conducting a reasonable investigation based upon all available information;

e. Failing to affirm or deny coverage of claims within a reasonable time after proof-of-loss statements have been completed;

f. Not attempting in good faith to effectuate prompt, fair and equitable settlements of claims in which liability has become reasonably clear;

g. Compelling [the] insured to institute litigation to recover amounts due under an insurance policy by offering substantially less than the amounts ultimately recovered in actions brought by such insured;

h.  Attempting to settle a claim for less than the amount to which a reasonable man would have believed he was entitled;

i. Attempting to settle claims on the basis of an application which was altered without notice to, or knowledge or consent of, the insured;

j. Making claims payments to insureds or beneficiaries not accompanied by [a] statement setting forth the coverage under which the payments are being made;

k. Making known to insureds or claimants a policy of appealing from arbitration awards in favor of insureds or claimants for the purpose of compelling them to accept settlements or compromises less than the amount awarded in arbitration;

l. Delaying the investigation or payment of claims by requiring an insured claimant, or the physician, of [or] either, to submit a preliminary claim report and then requiring the subsequent submission of formal proof-of-loss forms, both of which submissions contain substantially the same information;

m. Failing to promptly settle claims where liability has become reasonably clear, under one portion of the insurance policy coverage in order to influence settlements under other portions of the insurance policy coverage; and

n. Failing to promptly provide a reasonable explanation of the basis in the insurance policy in relation to the facts or applicable law for denial of a claim or for the offer of a compromise settlement.

(12) Misuse of Borrowers’ Confidential Information. – Soliciting, accepting, or using any information from a lender concerning policies of insurance held by such lender as a mortgagee of real property, except from a lender who is an insurer where the loan has been made by or sold or held for sale to such insurer. Provided, however, this subdivision shall not apply to the use of such information by a lender for the solicitation of life or accident and health insurance.

. . .

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-63-15.

11 N.C. Admin. Code 04.0117 — Statement of Action

(a) When an insurer denies a claim that included information for the insurer to identify the coverage involved, the denial shall be in writing and cite the policy provision or other legal basis used to deny the claim.
(b) When an insurer offers to settle a claim that included information for the insurer to identify the coverage involved, the offer, when requested by the consumer, shall be in writing and cite the specific policy provision or legal basis used in support of the claim statement.

11 N.C. Admin. Code 04.0421(a) — Handling of Loss and Claim Payments

(a) The Commissioner shall consider the failure by an insurer to adhere to the procedures in this Rule concerning loss and claim payments as prima facie evidence violation of G.S. 58-63-15(11) when such failure is so frequent as to indicate a general business practice.

11 N.C. Admin. Code 04.0421(a).

11 N.C. Admin. Code 04.0423 — Ethical Standards

(a) Every agent, limited representative, broker, adjuster, appraiser, or other insurer’s representative shall, when conducting insurance business with a member of the public:
(1) identify himself or herself and his or her occupation; and
(2) provide his or her National Producer Number and the Department’s website address and phone number for verification of licensure status when requested to show proof of licensure by any claimant, any repairer while he or she is investigating a claim or loss, any Department representative, or any other person with whom he or she has contact while performing his or her insurance business.
(b) No claims management person, agent, agency employee, limited representative, broker, adjuster, appraiser, or other insurer’s representative shall:
(1) accept any gratuity or other form of remuneration from any provider of services for recommending that provider to claimants;
(2) purchase salvage from a claimant;
(3) intimidate or discourage any claimant from seeking legal advice or counsel by withdrawing and reducing a settlement offer previously tendered to the claimant or threatening to do so if the claimant seeks legal advice or counsel. No adjuster shall advise a claimant of the advisability of seeking legal counsel nor recommend any legal counsel to any claimant; or
. . .