Concord Group Insurance Companies said it is holding a lottery for policyholders that will award $500,000 worth of vouchers for home heating fuel to the winners.

The company said it is holding the event to prevent loss of life and property, and to raise awareness of improper heating systems

More than 58,000 individuals and families across New England are eligible, the company said, for Concord Group’s one-time “A Warm Hand: Policyholder Heating Lottery” program.

Joseph A. Desmond, chairman and chief executive officer of Concord Group, said in a statement, “We recognize the unique challenge the economy causes for many families this holiday season. We have seen our policyholders through the Great Depression, oil embargo and other economic challenges. This is one of the ways we can show our policyholders–in a way that touches their lives–how we value their trust.”

All Concord Group Insurance homeowner and mobile homeowner policyholders of record as of Oct. 31, are eligible in Maine and Vermont.

Concord Group Insurance said it will award the fuel voucher checks in a lottery format and policyholders who wish to participate can register one of three ways:

o Directly on Concord Group’s Web site at www.concordgroupinsurance.com.

o Through their local Independent Insurance Agent who will register them with Concord Group.

o At one of Concord Group’s local offices in Concord, N.H.; Berlin, Vt. or Auburn, Me. and register directly with the company.

“Unlike some other companies, we’ve been prudent in our investments and in our daily operations,” said Concord Group President Linda J. Day. “We felt that this was the best way to offer safety and security to the thousands of New England families who turn to us for peace of mind.”

Each fuel voucher check will be awarded at $250 each in Vermont and $100 each in Maine. Four drawings are scheduled: Dec. 15; Jan. 15, 2009; Feb. 16, 2009 and March 16, 2009. All fuel voucher checks will be distributed by the end of March, 2009.

The company said fuel sources eligible for the fuel assistance check include heating oil, natural gas, electric, propane, wood pellets and fire wood.