J.F. from Tolland County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Why isn’t anyone doing anything about the horrible new CIOA laws in CT? The insurance changes have been awful. My association is going to go bankrupt trying to cover all these new claims that we didn’t have to cover before. We have already lost our insurance and now will have to pay more to get new insurance and have a higher deductible on top of that!
Mister Condo replies:
J.F., since the part of the Common Interest Ownership Act provisions you are talking about pertain primarily to insurance, I am going to assume that is the part of the law that you consider horrible. I am not defending the act but there were many provisions in the law designed to protect condo owners and limit the power of Boards and property management firms with regards to governance of their residents. It also updated how Boards can communicate with unit owners among other forward-thinking provisions.
That being said, your association is not alone in facing the many challenges created by CIOA. Lawmakers enacted the provisions based on feedback they had received from individual unit owners who had contacted their local legislators. Very few industry experts were sought out before the initial bill headed to the state legislature. Since the law’s inception, there have been several controversial provisions questioned by these experts and I expect you will continue to see changes and modification in the upcoming years.
The insurance industry was also caught off guard by many of these changes and had to quickly adjust their offerings to community associations who needed to purchase additional coverage as outlined by the new laws. In some instances, the underwriters simply refused to continue to offer insurance coverage based on the new laws. So when condos needed to renew their policies, many found there were fewer insurers to choose from. Increased demand and tighter supply are the two market forces that drive prices higher. Add to that the frustration of individual unit owners who have to pay these increased premiums and deductibles in the form of higher monthly common fees and you have a recipe for disaster.
There is some hope though, J.F.. The CAI-CT Legislative Action Committee (LAC) has been actively meeting with lawmakers to explain the challenges that the new laws have created. Legislators do ask for feedback each year during the Legislative Session at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. The Judiciary Committee is the primary group of lawmakers that craft the bills and proposals that become laws and amendments so that is the group to focus on. You can keep up to date by logging on to their webpage at http://www.caict.org/?page=Legislative
and emailing them your concerns. Of course, there is nothing like answering the call to action when your testimony is needed before lawmakers. Add you voice to your fellow citizens and help make a difference!