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Big "I" Issues White Paper on Catastrophic Homeowners 'Exclusion'

How a work relocation, foreclosure, routine home sale, or extended illness could result in the loss of a home by the owner or mortgage company



ALEXANDRIA, VA – Oct. 26, 2009 — While the recent hard market has created a homeowners’ insurance affordability problem for many consumers, a new report issued by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”) Virtual University (VU) also addresses growing concerns regarding potential homeowner policy gaps when a residence is left vacant.

“Although most homeowners policies provide coverage for the dwelling on the ‘residence premises,’ a term typically defined to include the dwelling ‘where you reside,’ the question is, what happens if you no longer (or never) reside(d) there?” says Madelyn Flannagan, Big “I” vice president of agent development, education and research.

To address these questions, the Big “I” VU Technical Affairs Committee has published a white paper entitled, “’Where You Reside’ – The ‘Where’s Waldo®?’ Catastrophic Homeowners Policy ‘Exclusion’ That Could Bankrupt Your Insureds.”

The situations addressed in this white paper can arise unexpectedly with emergency admissions into long-term care facilities, urgent job relocations, military deployments, illnesses or deaths, and other situations beyond the control or understanding of insureds.

“According to some interpretations and court cases, there are situations that could result in claims for damage to the dwelling to be denied by insurers,” says Bill Wilson, CPCU, ARM, AIM, AAM, Big “I” associate vice president of education & research and Virtual University director. “We have reviewed a number of real-life claim denials and court decisions of up to six-figures in size because of circumstances not contemplated by consumers. In the case of foreclosures, both the homeowner’s and lender’s interests may be imperiled.”

The Big “I” recommends that families and businesses ask their Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent to review their policies and make sure they are covered if one of these situations should arise.  A Trusted Choice® agent can review the family or business risk and look for the best personalized coverage.

Additionally, there will be a one-hour webinar on this subject on December 3, 2009. Click HERE for more information.

To download the white paper and an executive summary, go to www.independentagent.com/VU.

The VU is a state-of-the-art, online insurance educational and informational resource program.
Launched in 1999, VU offers agents and brokers access to the most comprehensive and integrated learning system in the industry. Big “I” members and VU subscribers get unlimited access to more than 4,000 pages of timely industry information; a subscription to VUpoint, the biweekly VU e-newsletter and its fully searchable archives; immediate access to a library of “white papers” on hot insurance topics; and can use the VU “Ask an Expert” service.

Founded in 1896, IIABA is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life and health—as well as employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.

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