Conn. Lawmakers Host Discussion of Insurers’ Storm Responses

Connecticut lawmakers planned to host an event Tuesday to hear how well insurers responded to damage claims filed by their customers in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene in late August and last month’s surprise snow storm.

The Legislature’s Insurance and Real Estate Committee scheduled an informational meeting and public hearing on the industry’s performance for 1 p.m. in the Legislative Office Building.

State Rep. Robert Megna (D-New Haven), who chairs the committee, said in a news release that the event would examine the process through which insurers responded to auto, home and business owners who filed claims for damages in the wake of the storms.

Megna said the committee will review complaints filed by policyholders about insurers’ speed and fairness in servicing claims and will look also at the application of windstorm and hurricane deductibles.

He said there would be presentations from invited speakers, followed by testimony from members of the public.

The event comes less than a month before the official end of the Atlantic hurricane season on Nov. 30 and nearly three months after Irene swept along the East Coast, killing dozens of people and inflicting billions of dollars in property damage.

Insurers have been forced to settle claims on everything from North Carolina car insurance to homeowner coverage in Vermont. Irene was followed about a week later by Tropical Storm Lee, which struck many of the same Eastern states, and industry experts have said they expect thousands of additional claims to be filed by policyholders after an unexpected snowstorm two weeks ago that killed two dozen people and knocked out power to large portions of the Northeast.

A long list of insurers, including many of the biggest names in the industry, have announced major losses as a result of weather-related disasters this year, with the Insurance Information Institute estimating that the economic costs of Irene alone could climb as high as $5 billion.

Connecticut regulators announced earlier this month that they helped auto, homeowner and other policyholders recover about $1.4 million from insurance companies from July through September, boosting recoveries to $3.8 million so far this year.

Those funds were the result of regulators following up on complaints and helping resolve disputes between policyholders and coverage providers. Officials also fined companies nearly $270,000 for improper business practices, with that money being put into the state’s general fund.

The bulk of recoveries went to people who filed claims on health and homeowner policies, which accounted for a combined more than $1 million. Another $156,500 was returned to auto policyholders, with the rest split among fire, general liability, life and other coverage types.

 

About John Pirro
John Pirro is a licensed fire and casualty insurance agent specializing in various aspects of the auto insurance industry. He worked in the auto body repair industry before taking a reporting position at Online Auto Insurance News.

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