Connecticut Had 58,002 Claims for Irene, With $161M Paid Out So Far

Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Thomas Leonardi told a legislative committee that Connecticut saw 58,002 claims for Hurricane Irene. Of those claims, 84.8 percent have been closed (88 percent for homeowners’ claims) and $161 million have been paid out to policyholders as of Oct. 31, 64 days after Irene, he said.

The commissioner gave an update during the Tuesday, Nov. 15, hearing before Connecticut legislature’s insurance and real estate committee.

Commissioner Leonardi also told lawmakers that his department is in the midst of reviewing options for changing hurricane deductible rules.

He said one of the triggers must be that a hurricane occur somewhere in the state, as defined by sustained winds of 74 mph or greater. He’s also working with other insurance departments in northeast states to look at the issue from a more uniform standpoint.

He said he hopes to have new hurricane deductible guidelines completed by the end of the year. The insurance department wants to issue guidelines rather than seek mandate through legislation. Guidelines would offer more flexibility and expedience so that they can be implemented for the 2012 hurricane season.

Current guidelines allow insurance carriers to impose a hurricane deductible beginning at the time when a hurricane warning is declared for anywhere in the state and up to 24 hours after a hurricane warning is terminated, or up to 24 hours after the storm system is downgraded from a hurricane. Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm before hitting Connecticut but by less than 24 hours before causing damages in the state.