Travelers kicks in $5M for crumbling foundation epidemic

BY Joe Cooper

HBJ PHOTO | Bill Morgan
HBJ PHOTO | Bill Morgan
South Windsor homeowner Kristen Cole is one of thousands who have problems with cracked foundations they claim was due to tainted cement from a defunct supplier.
Property and casualty insurer The Travelers Cos. has committed $5 million to support their policyholders suffering from crumbling concrete foundations, state officials said.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Attorney General George Jepsen announced Thursday afternoon the state inked an agreement with the insurer, which has major Hartford operations, to provide financial assistance for its current and former policyholders who file claims and receive awards to remediate their defective foundations through the state's new captive insurance program.

The 22-page "memorandum of understanding" tasks the insurer with establishing and overseeing the Travelers Benefit Program, backed by a $5 million contribution.

Eligible homeowners include those with deteriorating foundations containing a mineral called pyrrhotite, which causes structural cracking, flaking and separation of concrete, and others participating in the state's assistance program known as the Connecticut Foundations Solutions Indemnity Company (CFSIC).

Participation is voluntary and supplemental assistance is available to qualifying homeowners, but is not required for individuals to receive funding from CFSIC.

Under the deal, Travelers will provide current insureds a maximum of $25,000 and $10,000 for former insureds in addition to funds provided by CFSIC, which are expected to be capped at $175,000. Costs to repair homes are "likely" to exceed that amount, officials said.

Malloy and Jepsen applauded the insurer's multimillion-dollar effort to help address the state epidemic that may be impacting over 35,000 homes in about 41 towns.

Connecticut Insurance Department (CID) Commissioner Katharine L. Wade said she hopes other companies will follow Travelers' lead in providing support for homeowners.

CID will monitor the Travelers Benefit Program, officials said.