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CO Division of Insurance Asks Insurers to Extend ALE Coverage Beyond 12 Months for Marshall Fire Survivors

By Anne-Marie Kopek
December 21, 2022
5 min read

Division of Insurance Asks Insurers to Extend ALE Coverage Beyond 12 Months for Marshall Fire Survivors

“The Division is again asking you to step up to help the Marshall survivors.”

DENVER – Today, the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies, issued an open letter to the homeowners’ insurance companies with policyholders in the Marshall Fire area. The letter requests that insurers extend additional living expenses (ALE) coverage in homeowners’ policies if the policy had a minimum of 12 months of coverage. These are the expenses people have when they can’t live in their home due to a catastrophic event like a fire, but still need a place to live and the other necessities of life.

Some Marshall Fire survivors only have 12 months of ALE coverage stated in their homeowners’ policies. These people are far from having a rebuilt home to move back into. This letter asks the insurance companies to help these people who have lost so much by stepping up and extending ALE coverage for up to 24 months.

“Earlier this year, we asked the companies to do more, to step up and make things easier for the Marshall Fire survivors. And to their credit, most companies met our asks,” said Colorado Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway. “As the rebuilding process has just started for so many, extending ALE coverage is critical in letting people know they can continue to have a roof over their heads.”

The open letter below is posted on the Division’s website for the public and insurance companies review and will be followed by a survey to insurance companies that will  ask them to agree to extend policies that are limited to 12-months of ALE coverage to 24 months of ALE coverage. Responses will be due to the DOI by December 30.

As a reminder, Marshall Fire survivors with any questions or concerns about their insurance can contact the DOI’s Consumer Services Team at 303-894-7490 / DORA_Insurance@state.co.us.

To: Insurance Companies Selling Homeowners’ Insurance in Colorado

In the immediate months after the Marshall Fire, the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI) reached out to all of you, the companies who sell homeowners’ insurance in Colorado – specifically the companies who had policyholders impacted in the Marshall Fire. We asked you to help the survivors on key issues to help make life a little easier in the terrible aftermath of one of Colorado’s worst disasters. We asked you to step up to help the Marshall fire survivors and overwhelmingly you did..  

The Division is again asking you to step up to help the Marshall survivors. 

The one-year anniversary of the Marshall Fire will be upon us soon. And that anniversary date will also bring the end of the additional living expenses (ALE) benefits that some people have on the face of their policies. As you all know, Colorado law required you all to offer at least 24 months of ALE benefits to your policyholders when the policies were issued and renewed. Even with that legal requirement in place, prior to HB 22-1111, some Marshall fire survivors only have 12 months of ALE coverage. And because of the nature of this disaster – its size and scope – as well as the nationwide economic circumstances over the last year, 12 months of ALE coverage will not be enough for people. Construction for some only started this summer, as people had to wait for the debris from all of the impacted homes to be cleared. There are many others with even more recent construction starts. All of these factors have made it impossible for people to rebuild their homes in just one year. 

For policyholders in the Marshall Fire area with a total loss of an owner-occupied home and only 12 months of ALE, the Division is asking all insurers to grant an extension of ALE benefits for rebuilding, up to 24 months. 

In doing so, we think it is important to highlight two things. First, many of you sell policies with a minimum of 24 months of ALE coverage even before the requirements of HB 22-1111 went into effect. For that, we are very thankful. Second, our request for this extension is completely in the spirit of HB 22-1111 and the support that legislation received at the legislature. 

As we have done in the past, we will be surveying you on this request. It has been extremely helpful for the Marshall Fire survivors and all of the people in Boulder County, Louisville and Superior when the Division has informed them about how all of the insurance companies respond to our requests. A survey regarding your ability to offer ALE extensions will be sent to companies this week, and we will require your responses no later than December 30, 2022. 

As we all know, most Marshall Fire survivors are still trying to put their lives back together. Extending ALE up to 24 months will let them rest easier as their homes and lives are rebuilt. We hope you’ll join us in continuing to help the community recover and rebuild. 

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About the Division of Insurance:

The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), regulates the insurance industry and assists consumers and other stakeholders with insurance issues. Visit doi.colorado.gov for more information or call 303-894-7499 / toll free 800-930-3745.

About DORA:

DORA is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the marketplace and is committed to promoting a fair and competitive business environment in Colorado. Consumer protection is our mission. Visit dora.colorado.gov for more information or call 303-894-7855 / toll free 800-886-7675.

 

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