Oct. 05--Data from the Connecticut Insurance Department reveal that less than 1 percent of homeowners in north central Connecticut have filed a claim with their insurance carriers seeking money to fix failing concrete foundations.
Data from the insurance companies reveal that 322 foundation-related claims have been made from a pool of more than 34,000 homes built since 1983 in the region.
Eighty of those claims have been denied, 44 have been closed with some payment to the homeowner and 33 have been closed without payment. One hundred sixty-five claims remain open.
"Regardless, it is paramount that more homeowners need to come forward as the state continues to look for solutions to help affected homeowners so that we can better understand the scope," insurance Commissioner Katharine L. Wade said.
The data collected by the Insurance Department reveal that foundation related claims have been made in 37 towns from Woodstock in the northeast corner of the state to Glastonbury.
Wade was clear that the foundation-related claims do not solely refer to foundation failure due to the presence of pyrrhotite -- they could include fire or other damage.
In June, the department requested data on claims from the 47 insurance companies that have written homeowners insurance policies for structures built since 1983, the earliest time the problem was identified, within a 20-mile radius of the J.J. Mottes Concrete Company in Stafford Springs. The company has been identified by many homeowners in lawsuits against their insurance companies as being the supplier of their concrete.
Since July 2015, more than 300 homeowners in 18 towns have filed complaints with the state Department of Consumer Protection alleging that their concrete foundations are failing. A state report said that the mineral pyrrhotite, present in the aggregate that was used for the foundations, was partly to blame.
Insurance companies have denied the homeowners' claims, though, saying the problem does not qualify for coverage under their definition of "collapse," leaving homeowners to bear the burden of a costly foundation replacement. The bill to replace the foundations can be as much as $200,000.
State Attorney General George Jepsen announced in late June that four insurance companies, including Travelers and The Hartford, were inclined to join a financial assistance fund for victims of crumbling foundations. Since then, however, no other insurers have expressed interest in the program.
On Tuesday, Jaclyn Falkowski, spokeswoman for the attorney general's office, said the Insurance Department's data raise questions about how the state should proceed on finding a solution for homeowners.
"For example, why have more than 40 claims been paid at least in part, and fewer than a third denied outright, despite carriers uniformly denying any coverage responsibility in their public statements," Falkowski's statement said. "Under what circumstances have homeowners -- many facings loss of their homes and financial ruin -- been paid while others haven't?"
Despite the data, Falkowski said, the information could potentially help attract more insurers to join the financial assistance fund.
"It is imperative that policymakers fully understand the availability of insurance coverage as they grapple with calls to provide resources and other assistance. We join DOI in urging affected homeowners to contact both their carriers and the state, and we remain willing to work with insurance companies to fashion a program to provide meaningful financial relief," her statement said.
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