State Farm Sticks It To Connecticut Clients Claiming Storm Irene Was A Hurricane

In an outrageous move, apparently permitted under Connecticut state insurance laws, State Farm Mutual Insurance is refusing to pay scores of Connecticut homeowners for storm damage by claiming that Storm Irene was a hurricane and it could therefore apply a much higher deductible.

Despite the fact that by the time Hurricane Irene hit Connecticut it was downgraded to a tropical storm, State Farm – a major insurer in Connecticut – is weaseling out of paying for damages by claiming it was a hurricane.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Ct, requested that State Farm follow the lead of most of the other other insurers in the state and waive the deduction, which is 5 percent of the value of the home.

“We believe our decision is really grounded in fairness to all policyholders. To ignore deductibles this one time for this one event, wouldn’t be fair to customers everywhere who have dealt with disasters in the past and have paid deductibles,” said David Beigie, a State Farm spokesman told The Courant in a story written by Matthew Sturdevant.

“Sixty-four insurance companies decided to either waive the hurricane deductible on their property casualty policy or to not apply the higher level of deductible because the storm did not qualify as a hurricane. … Regrettably, State Farm was not one of those companies,” Blumenthal wrote in a letter to State Farm CEO Edward B. Rust Jr, The Courant wrote.

“Home insurers are allowed under current state insurance guidelines to write policies that would put in place higher deductibles for hurricanes. The higher deductibles remain in effect for up to 24 hours even if the storm is downgraded to a tropical storm, as was the case on Aug. 28, when Irene hit Connecticut,” the Courant said, adding that the state is considering changing the law.

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4 Comments on "State Farm Sticks It To Connecticut Clients Claiming Storm Irene Was A Hurricane"

  1. State Farm has really made an impression on me by taking this stand. Such an impression that I have been talking about it at the coffee shop and at work. Seeing people screwed out of rebuilding because they want to save 200k off the backs of their customers is DISGUSTING. I printed out your story BTW, and it’s in the break room on all 11 floors of my office building.

  2. I am now thankful that I dumped State Farm for both home and auto earlier this year after more than 20 years as a customer because my renewal premium rates in the last 18 months continued to rise at accelerating percentages every six months despite my clean claim history. When my State Farm agent in Norwalk could not provide any believable explanation, other than to claim that all rates were going up sharply due to excessive Connecticut accident activity due to winter storms, my decision was made. I cancelled and saved several hundred dollars by switching to an AARP program with The Hartford. The agent never made any attempt to negotiate a renewal for me, or save my business. I’ve found that when an insurance company does not want to be your partner in coverage any more, the best response is to vote with your feet.

  3. “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there”

  4. I am a Hurricane Katrina survivor. I, my 80-year-old mother and my brother’s family all lost our homes, ALL INSURED BY STATE FARM. We battled for TWO YEARS to be paid on our policies. During that time, we endured insults by the national news media, including from the NY Times in an editorial, that poor State Farm was fighting valiantly dealing with stupid Southerners who didn’t know how to insure their property properly. The greedy bastards used stereotypes against us, and it worked for them! I found this web site out of interest to know what you guys are dealing with after Irene. My best advice to you…HIRE A PUBLIC ADJUSTER. State Farm will lie to you, and they will break every law in the book. If anyone knows how to insure their property against a hurricane, it’s residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I and my neighbors were insured to the max, but we all had to fight. Plus, you were dead in the water without an eyewitness account of your damage or photos with a time/date stamp. Even the Chief U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Miss. was quoted in the news saying he was unable to read his own State Farm policy. I went to FOUR attorneys for estimates of my maximum policy payout, and the estimates differed by hundreds of thousands of dollars. Finally, I hired a public adjuster, and he told me in five minutes what State Farm owed me. I paid him the max under state law, which was 7 percent of what I received. I hired my own engineers, etc. Even State Farm’s own engineers confided in me the company was trying to beat property owners out of every cent. And, don’t think the other insurance companies were any better. It’s just that State Farm is the leader, and the other companies follow them like lemmings. A judge told me that State Farm uses these cases to set legal precedence, and that’s why they fight them. It’s never about good corporate conduct. Oh, four months after Katrina, State Farm sent me a notice that I owed them $700 for the next year’s coverage ‘ON MY SLAB!” If I didn’t pay it, then they wouldn’t insure me if I rebuilt my house. THIS IS CALLED EXTORTION. State Farm gets away with this because they waltz in to national news media and keep them from doing negative stories following these storms. That way, they divide the Americans living in the areas impacted by hurricanes. That’s why I was googling for information about what’s happening to you guys following Irene. Raise heck with your state insurance commissioner. Don’t be deceived by him. He is likely in league with the insurance companies. It’s a very cozy relationship!

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