Connecticut insurance department announced that it has updated its coastal underwriting guidelines to clarify when hurricane deductibles can be applied.
The hurricane deductible issue has been in the spotlight in wake of Tropical Storm Irene. Some policyholders in Connecticut saw hurricane deductibles being applied to their claims even though Irene was downgraded to the tropical storm status before causing damages in Connecticut. The hurricane deductible was applied because the downgrade was announced less than 24 hours before causing damages in the state.
The insurance department says that under the revised guidelines, the National Weather Service must declare a hurricane and record sustained hurricane force winds – 74 miles per hour or more – anywhere in the state in order for a hurricane deductible to be applied.
“These new guidelines were developed after lengthy deliberation and study and are intended to bring much-needed clarity to the question of when hurricane deductibles can be invoked,” Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Thomas Leonardi said.
He said carriers have until March 1, 2012, to submit new policy language to the department for review: “There must be no gray area for our consumers, particularly at a time of great turmoil and stress in their lives. The department requests that all companies honor this language and move expeditiously to update their policy language before the 2012 hurricane season.”
The newly revised guidelines can be found at: www.ct.gov/cid/lib/cid/Guidelines_Related_to_Underwriting_Coastal_Homeowners_Insurance_Policies_Dec-8-2011.pdf