Massachusetts Mandates Prompt Investigation, Encourages Insurers to Offer Deadline Extensions to Bombing Victims

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On Monday of this week, the Massachusetts’s Division of Insurance issued a bulletin mandating prompt investigation of business interruption, property damage and medical insurance claims by policyholders victimized by the Boston Marathon bombings and stating the Insurance Commissioner “expects” insurers to offer extensions of “reporting timelines and other requirements” to displaced insureds. Carriers are also advised they “should establish expedited claim processing procedures and simplified claim reporting forms” for bombing victims. Finally, the temporary suspension of premium payments and the granting of modified premium payment plans is “encouraged,” and carriers are cautioned that it is neither “appropriate” nor “reasonable” to cancel, nonrenew, refuse to provide coverage or change insurance rates solely because of an individual or business’ status as a bombing victim.

As the world is aware, two pressure cooker bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2013, killing three people and injuring 264. Although little property damage was done, there will likely be many business interruption claims. A 15block area of Back Bay, including the 52story Prudential Building, was declared off limits as a crime scene, allowing authorities to investigate the blasts. Although this was reduced to a 12block area on the following day, many businesses were shuttered and residents displaced for nine days until Wednesday, April 24. There were other brief closures, as well, including the entire Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MTA) and the city’s Logan International Airport. Finally, the dramatic car chase and shooting of one of the suspects in Watertown, Mass., to the west of Boston and the housetohouse search for his brother led authorities to close down virtually the entire metropolitan area (including Amtrak, the MTA, and the city’s taxi service) for approximately 24 hours on Friday, April 19.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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