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Most Conn. Insurers to Waive Hurricane Deductibles

HARTFORD, Conn. – Most of the insurance companies that write homeowners policies in Connecticut will waive the higher-cost deductible in the wake of Hurricane Irene, Gov. Dannel Malloy and Insurance Commissioner Thomas Leonardi announced Friday.

That's because Irene was actually a tropical storm when it hit the Connecticut coast. Leonardi said some carriers have waived the deductible even though their policy language permitted it and that others did not invoke it because their policy triggers were not met.

"I am asking all other carriers to follow the lead of those in the industry who I believe, in this instance, have done the right thing and waived the hurricane deductible. There is no question that Connecticut was hit by a damaging storm, but it wasn't a hurricane when it reached us," Leonardi said in a statement.

Currently, 17 companies that have nearly 70 percent of the homeowners market throughout Connecticut are not invoking the hurricane deductible on coastal policies. Companies that have waived the hurricane deductible are:

? ACE

? Fireman's Fund

? Hartford

? Liberty Mutual

? MiddleOak

? Nationwide

? New London County Mutual (NLC)

? Safeco

? Tower

? Travelers

? Utica National

? Utica First

? Vermont Mutual

Leonardi said talks are ongoing with other insurance carriers to resolve the issue. The commissioner said the attorney general and state Department of Consumer Protection are also looking into the matter.

Companies not applying the hurricane deductibles because triggers were not met are:

? Chubb

? Hanover

? Kemper

? Peerless

"We should all be mindful that as our state and citizens continue to recover in these difficult economic times, there are some business decisions that could be extremely burdensome if imposed at the wrong time. I believe this is that time," Malloy said. "I applaud those companies that are waiving the deductible and commend them for taking this tremendous step of corporate goodwill. Failure to do this would result in many homeowners paying tens of thousands of dollars out-of-pocket."

Going forward, Leonardi said, the underwriting guidelines that permitted these deductibles will be changed and tightened. "They currently do not carry the force of a regulation or statute and I will be reviewing whether legislative changes may be necessary," Leonardi said.

Follow us on Facebook for further updates on the recovery from Hurricane Irene.

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