New York State
Insurance Department


ISSUED 10/10/2003

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DEPARTMENT REVIEW OF NEW HAMPSHIRE INSURANCE COMPANY’S TERRORISM COVERAGE ON BROWNSTONE PROPERTIES RESULTS IN ENHANCED CONSUMER PROTECTIONS
Initial Department Inquiry Elicits Further Agreement To Protect Policyholders

        Superintendent of Insurance Gregory V. Serio today announced that a review of terrorism coverages offered by New Hampshire Insurance Company to brownstone property owners has resulted in an agreement for New Hampshire to fully disclose terrorism coverage information to its policyholders. The review followed an initial inquiry concerning charges for terrorism coverage to brownstone property owners.

        "The Department’s review ensured that policyholders were protected and appropriately covered and has resulted in more meaningful action for policyholders who may have had questions concerning their insurance coverage for terrorism," said Serio. "The Department will continue to closely monitor market practices to protect New York’s policyholders."

        Earlier this year the Department looked into a consumer complaint regarding the charging of premiums for terrorism coverage on brownstone properties by New Hampshire. New Hampshire subsequently returned a half million dollars in premiums to more than 500 insureds and the Department inquiry prompted a more detailed review of insurance coverages of brownstone properties.

        Under the agreement, New Hampshire will provide all prospective customers and policyholders a letter which discloses that if the units are being occupied for residential purposes the property will be treated as personal lines insurance and will automatically have terrorism coverage included in their policies at no additional charge. The Department will review these consumer notices.

        At issue in the Department review was the classification of property as a residential property or commercial property. According to the federal Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, commercial property owners must be given an option to purchase terrorism coverage, while residential property owners are covered for terrorism in their homeowner’s policies and should not pay any additional fees.

        Any New York State homeowners’ who have questions about terrorism coverage should call the Department at 1-800-342-3736.


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