Filed Under:Markets, Commercial Lines

U.S. Insurers Re-Think Coverage After Weather Disaster Payouts

PITTSBURGH, April 10 (Reuters) - As weather disasters strike with more frequency, U.S. homeowners first get hit with the destruction or total loss of property. Many are then hit with the unexpected loss of homeowners insurance policies as insurance companies re-evaluate their financial liabilities.

After a tornado ripped through Springfield, Massachusetts, last year, R. Paula Lazzari's home was badly damaged. The retired teacher found broken windows, missing siding and a damaged roof. Her insurer offered to fund repairs for one broken window and some of the siding. It took nine months -- and mediation services from an independent adjuster and the Massachusetts Division of Insurance -- to get her bills paid, according to the parties involved.

PAYING MORE FOR LESS

Even homeowners that renew every year may find new limits buried in their policies. The Consumer Federation report said insurance companies have "sharply hollowed out the catastrophe coverage offered to consumers" by raising deductibles, capping replacement costs, and -- significant for folks in the path of tornadoes and hurricanes -- removing coverage for wind damage if another non-covered event (usually a flood) also occurs.

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