Coastal insurance a top issue of race

The insurance market on North Carolina's coast has fallen into crisis, and the rest of the state could end up paying the multibillion dollar bill.

The two major-party candidates for state insurance commissioner agree on that much. The only difference is the way they describe the situation. “Potential catastrophe,” says Republican John Odom. Democrat Wayne Goodwin calls the beachside insurance market a “ticking time bomb.”

The possibility of a hurricane wiping out the development that has mushroomed along the coast looms as the weightiest issue in the race to succeed longtime insurance commissioner Jim Long. The contest pits Goodwin, an assistant commissioner to Long who pledges to make changes from within, against Odom, a former Raleigh city councilman who argues the agency doesn't need more of the same.

Mark McMains of Fuquay-Varina, who owns an auto body shop and two towing companies, is running as a Libertarian.