Connecticut Insurance Department Recovers Nearly $9 Million from Insurers for Unfair Practices

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file0001620061222.jpgThe Connecticut Department of Insurance (CID) announced that, during the calendar year 2012, it recovered $8.7 million from insurance companies for taxpayers and policyholders. CID investigates and prosecutes cases of unfair insurance practices, such as bad faith denials of claims or refusals to pay benefits. Unfair insurance practices are unfortunately a common stumbling block in the practice of personal injury law, as many individuals and businesses depend on insurance coverage to pay claims for damages. We have assisted people pursue complaints against Connecticut insurance companies for bad faith and other breaches of their duties to their policyholders and the public.

On January 31, 2013, CID announced a total recovery of $8.7 million from insurance companies during 2012. Amounts recovered for policyholders, who filed over 6,100 complaints of unfair insurance practices with CID, totaled almost $4.1 million. CID will distribute that amount to the complainants in proportion to their damages. Fines and penalties, for infractions like failure to make timely payment on claims or failure to maintain state licensure, accounted for the remaining $4.6 million collected by CID. That amount will go into the state’s General Fund.

Automobile, homeowners’, accident, and general liability insurance policies are the ones most commonly involved in personal injury claims. According to CID, more than half of the amounts recovered for policyholders, about $2.1 million, related to accident and health insurance policies. About $790,000 resulted from complaints over homeowners’ or farmers’ insurance. Automobile insurance claims, along with fire and commercial insurance claims, each accounted for over $400,000. General liability policy complaints yielded $76,000. The remaining amounts recovered by CID related to life insurance, annuities, and “miscellaneous” insurance policies, all of which are less likely to relate to personal injury claims.

Strict Liability of Dog Owners in Connecticut for Injuries Caused by Their Dog

1372759_92182017.jpgA Groton man has agreed to surrender his dog to the city’s animal control department after the dog was allegedly involved in an attack on a man and his smaller dog. The smaller dog reportedly died as a result of the attack, and the man suffered injuries described as “serious.” Connecticut law imposes strict liability on individuals whose dogs are involved in attacks that cause injury to other people or their property, except in limited circumstances. Courts in Connecticut have also taken a broad view of insurance coverage for dog bite injuries, finding that many premises liability policies should cover them.

The Groton Patch reports that the attack occurred during the morning of Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at Groton’s Calvin Burrows Field. A 74 year-old man was walking his three year-old Silky Terrier when they were allegedly attacked by another dog. Few details of the incident are available, including how the other dog came to be in the field or whether its owner was nearby. The man was reportedly taken to Lawrence & Memorial Hospital, and his dog went to Companion Animal Hospital, where she later died from her injuries.

The Patch describes the attacking dog as a “Boxer-Pit Bull mix,” although it is not clear how this determination was made. “Pit bull” is often a catch-all category for a wide range of dog breeds with similar physical characteristics. Any breed of dog can be involved in an attack, and state and local laws apply equally to all breeds. Ultimately, owners bear the responsibility for damages caused by their dogs, but the dogs themselves face consequences ranging from impoundment to euthanasia.