Sen. Blumenthal Asks State Farm to Drop Hurricane Deductible for Irene

October 13, 2011

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called on State Farm Insurance to drop its hurricane deductible for Connecticut residences whose homes were damaged by Tropical Storm Irene.

Blumenthal was joined at his Hartford press conference on Tuesday, Oct. 11, by Elizabeth Wachsler, a resident from Bridgeport who sustained extensive damage to the lower level of her house.

State Farm has only agreed to cover the damage if she first pays approximately $10,000 in a hurricane deductible, according to Blumenthal.

In an open letter to State Farm CEO Edward Rush, Blumenthal wrote, “Your company has decided — despite requests from me, insureds, and the Connecticut insurance commissioner — to keep the hurricane deductible in place even though the storm was downgraded to a tropical storm before reaching Connecticut…Particularly in these difficult economic times, this is a significant sum of money for those who are trying to rebuild in the wake of a devastating storm.”

After Tropical Storm Irene, 64 insurers decided to either waive the hurricane deductible or did not apply it because Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm.

Interpreting Policy Documents

Blumenthal said State Farm is the largest insurer not to waive the deductible and continues to apply the charge to claims it received because the storm was downgraded less than 24 hours before causing damage in Connecticut.

“I understand that the insurance policies State Farm wrote for Connecticut residents permit the company to charge a full hurricane deductible, as Irene was downgraded to tropical storm status before the 24 hours that your policies require,” Blumenthal said in his letter to State Farm CEO.

“However, I urge you to reconsider this narrow interpretation of your policy documents. The total amount that State Farm would have to waive in deductibles would be negligible, and would represent a significant benefit to your policyholders.”

Source: Office of Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Senator for Connecticut

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