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State Supreme Court ruling on crumbling foundations could have ramifications

HARTFORD — A recent ruling from the state Supreme Court regarding the crumbling foundation crisis may impact homeowners harder than originally thought. The state’s highest court ruled that private insurances companies don’t have to cover the cost or foundation replacement. A big blow to homeowners — and it could get worse.

More than 70 Connecticut homeowners are suing their insurance company for the cost of crumbling foundation replacement. But now, after the ruling, they’ll likely drop those cases and turn to the state’s captive insurance company for help. The problem is that they’ve stopped accepting applications for new claims. But according to Michael Maglaras, most if not all of the people who were suing their private insurance company are already in line to get help from the captive insurance company.

“It’s good to be home. It’s good to be home,” said Wendy Padula of Vernon.

Padula just moved back into her home on Elliot Drive after a total foundation replacement. This summer, we visited her home as it was still suspended in the air. She feels abandoned by her private insurance.

“We insure our homes for disasters and things that will affect our lives and then to have something catastrophic like this and then just say oh no sorry that’s not covered," said Padula.

Back to the state’s captive insurance company. It is written into law that they’ll cease operation in 2022. The legislature needs to extend that before they can accept new applications.

If there is good news, the scope of the problem might not be as bad as originally thought. Initially estimated to be 35,000 homes affected, officials say it’s more like 5,000-7,000.

“That’s telling me that the crisis as we understand it is a lot more manageable. It’s still a great human tragedy and made even more of a human tragedy because of the declination of these claims by the commercial insurance industry but let’s be clear, this is not a $2-billion dollar crisis. Not in the state of Connecticut,” said Michael Maglaras of the Connecticut Foundation Solutions Indemnity Company.

The captive insurance company will pay up to $175,000 for the cost of foundation replacement, but the average cost is $210,000. The homeowner is on the hook for the balance.

1,200 people have applied for assistance through the captive. 334 in Vernon alone. More than 30 are back in their home today with an estimated 90 by Christmas and 250 by this time next year.

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