RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina's insurance commissioner has rejected a proposed 18.7 percent increase on home insurance rates.

Instead, Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey scheduled a July 23 hearing to consider more evidence. The request by the N.C. Rate Bureau was to take effect July 1, but now it will be delayed for the hearing.

The rate bureau, which represents the industry, had asked in November for the statewide increase, which would range from an increase of 80.5 percent in some coastal counties to a decrease of 7.1 percent in parts of western North Carolina.

If the insurance department and the rate bureau can't settle the matter, Causey would preside over the July hearing and issue a decision. The Rate Bureau could appeal Causey's ruling to the state Court of Appeals.