U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal is calling on State Farm Insurance to drop its hurricane deductible for customers whose homes were damaged by Tropical Storm Irene, but officials from the insurance company said it would not be fair to other customers.
Some people’s homes were totally destroyed. Many other people suffered damage, including Elizabeth Wachsler, a State Farm customer. The lower level of her Bridgeport home was damaged and the company only agreed to cover the damage if she pays about 5 percent of the value of her home, she said. Other customers told Blumenthal they had to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket.
“Your company has decided -- despite requests from me, insureds and the Connecticut Insurance Commissioner -- to keep the hurricane deductible in place even though the storm was downgraded to a tropical storm before reaching Connecticut,” Blumenthal wrote in a letter to the CEO and chairman of the insurance company.
State Farm officials responded, saying their decision is “grounded in fairness.”
“To ignore insurance agreements this one time would not be fair to customers everywhere who've dealt with disasters in the past, played by the rules and paid deductibles. It also wouldn't be fair to people who've paid higher premiums for years to have lower or no deductibles," Phil Supple, director of external relations for State Farm , said in an e-mail. He said “ripping up insurance agreements introduces uncertainty and confusion everywhere, creating a man-made disaster far worse than any natural one.”
After Tropical Storm Irene, several insurance companies decided to waive the hurricane deductible or did not apply it because Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm.