January 8, 2019

A guide to apply for crumbling foundation relief

HBJ PHOTO | Bill Morgan
HBJ PHOTO | Bill Morgan
South Windsor homeowner Kristen Cole is one of hundreds who have problems with cracked foundations they claim was due to tainted cement from a defunct supplier. But Cole is one of the first to press the court for damages against the real estate broker involved in her home purchase.
PHOTO | Connecticut Department of Housing
Towns identified as having been impacted by crumbling foundations.

The estimated 35,000 Connecticut homeowners with crumbling concrete foundations will be able to seek financial assistance beginning Thursday morning.

Connecticut Foundation Solutions Indemnity Co. LLC (CFSIC), the nonprofit insurer providing up to $175,000 for individuals with crumbling foundations, on Monday detailed its application process slated to launch Thursday at 9 a.m.

CFSIC is funded by $100 million in state bonding and $9 million annually over a decade collected through an annual $12 surcharge on certain homeowner insurance policies.

CFSIC Superintendent Michael Maglaras, assigned by the state to oversee the CFSIC fund, said applications can be submitted electronically, through ground shipping or email. A video in the "For Homeowners" section of the insurer's website will offer prospective applicants a tutorial on how to complete a claim for reimbursement or repair funding.

Maglaras, also principal of Ashford's Michael Maglaras & Co., urged individuals to learn more about the CFSIC-sponsored re-examination program before applying, and to submit readable applications that have "points of evidence ready."

Applicants should not, he said, assume that CFSIC will run out of funding after the first day, or attach a video or other documents that are not required. Homeowners are also asked not to hand deliver their applications, apply before 9 a.m. Thursday or on a smartphone.

In December, CFSIC announced 13 new guidelines for homeowners seeking funds for foundation replacements or other reimbursements to offset the cost of work already completed.

For example, the expanded application rules allow homeowners to hire a testing or laboratory source to test for pyrrhotite, a mineral that causes the slow cracking, flaking, bowing and separation of concrete foundations when exposed to oxygen and water. Previous guidelines limited homeowners to solicit testing sources chosen by the Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG).

The Connecticut Department of Housing has said the estimated 35,000-plus Connecticut homeowners with deteriorating concrete foundations reside in roughly 41 towns -- mainly in central and eastern Connecticut.

CFSIC will provide up to $175,000 per individual based on a home's size. Costs to repair or replace the irreversible damage ranges from $150,000 to $250,000 per home, state officials have estimated.

But deteriorating foundations on average cost about $185,000 to fix, and almost all insurance companies have refused to reimburse or fund claims for homeowners. However, in December, property and casualty insurer The Travelers Cos. committed $5 million to support current insureds a maximum of $25,000 and $10,000 for former insureds in addition to funds provided by CFSIC.

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