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    Connecticut Lawmakers Consider Bill that Would Mandate Coverage by Insurers for Homes that Lack Permanent Storm Shutters; Provides Authority for Private Insurers to Offer Flood Insurance Coverage

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    Storm Shutters

    Pursuant to the Connecticut Insurance Code, “[n]o insurer that delivers, issues for delivery, renews, amends or endorses a homeowners insurance policy in this state shall refuse to renew or issue such a policy solely on the basis that the insured or prospective insured has failed to install permanent storm shutters on his or her residential dwelling as a means of mitigating loss from hurricanes or other severe storms.”  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 38a-316a (emphasis added).  House Bill 5502, An Act Concerning Changes to the Property and Casualty Insurance Statutes, among other things, aims to amend the existing language in Section 38a-316a by removing the word “permanent” preceding the words storm shutters.  If passed into law, the amended language in House Bill 5502 would disallow insurers from denying coverage under a homeowner’s policy because the policyholder relied on non-permanent storm shutters as a means of mitigating damages caused by hurricanes or other severe storms.

    Further, the bill also proposes to modify the language in Conn. Gen. Stat. § 38a-316b, whereby an insurer that delivers, issues for delivery, renews, amends or endorses a homeowners insurance policy for a residential dwelling in Connecticut shall offer a premium discount on any such policy to a policyholder “who submits to such insurer proof of installation of storm shutters or impact-resistant glass on his or her dwelling as a means of mitigating loss from hurricanes or other severe storms.”  In its current form, Section 38a-316b requires a premium discount for a policyholder with a home that has permanent storm shutters.

    Private Flood Insurance

    House Bill 5502 also proposes to open up the private flood insurance market in the State of Connecticut.  Section 7 of the proposed bill states, “An insurer licensed to write homeowners or commercial property insurance in this state may offer flood insurance coverage for one-to-four unit owner-occupied residential real property or commercial property, as applicable, on a less than state-wide basis as selected by the insurer.”  According State Representative Robert Megna, (D-New Haven), Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Insurance and Real Estate (the “Joint Committee”), this section of House Bill 5502 aims “to create a market place to enable our local companies to write flood insurance.”

    HB 5502 was referred to the Joint Committee on March 5, 2014.  A public hearing to discuss HB 5502 is set for March 11, 2014.

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