Mass. DOI to Issue Report on Insurance Claims Arising From Boston Bombings

May 10, 2013

The Massachusetts Division of Insurance said it is currently examining claims arising from the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings in an effort to understand the insurance claims filed and paid, in line with examinations the Division has previously undertaken following events involving significant claims activities.

The Division spokesperson said that once the examination is complete, these findings would be compiled and made available as a summary report in the future.

“The Division of Insurance has initiated an examination of claims arising from the Boston Marathon bombing and related events that occurred in Boston, Cambridge and Watertown, Massachusetts on April 15, 2013 through April 19, 2013 in an effort to understand the claims filed and paid to date, as well as other information,” the Division of Insurance spokesperson Jayda Leder-Luis told Insurance Journal.

This examination is consistent with examinations the Division has initiated after other events involving significant claims activities, such as 2011 tornadoes and Hurricane Irene in 2011, the spokesperson said.

“As part of the current examination, the Division is collecting information on a regular basis on various lines of insurance, including workers’ compensation, property and casualty and health insurance, and will ultimately issue an aggregate report,” the spokesperson said.

Bulletin on Claims Handling

The Division of Insurance had published a bulletin last month regarding procedures for claims in the wake of the bombings. The Bulletin 2013-03, issued by Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner Joseph Murphy on April 25, advised that all insurers are required to promptly investigate all claims for all lines of coverage including, without limitation, business interruption insurance, home insurance, property insurance and health insurance.

Commissioner Murphy said insurers should extend claims reporting timelines for policyholders who need more time in the wake of the tragedy.

He said his department “expects insurers to offer extensions to claimants who have been displaced from their homes or businesses as a result of the events if they are unable to meet reporting timelines or other requirements that are specified in their insurance policies or otherwise.”

Commissioner Murphy also said the Division of Insurance is encouraging all insurers to provide prompt and immediate relief to those policyholders impacted by these events, “including the temporary suspension of premium payments and suspension of vacancy provisions for those temporarily displaced, as applicable.”

“The Division will work with insurers to minimize any regulatory effects of an insurer’s suspension of premium payments, specifically in regard to financial review requirements, as applicable,” according to the bulletin.

Further, Commissioner Murphy said it is not appropriate for insurers to re-rate, cancel, non-renew, or refuse to provide insurance coverage due solely to an individual’s or business’ status as a victim of these events.

“It is not reasonable to change policyholders’ rating classifications or increase their insurance rates solely because they are victims of these events,” the commissioner said.

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