Yesterday, Senate Bill 106, which protects Alaskans from insurance companies canceling a homeowner or renters’ policy if a claim is filed within the first three years, became law without Governor Mike Dunleavy’s signature. In April of 2019, Senator Tom Begich (D-Anchorage) introduced the legislation after a constituent, Penny Gage, reached out to him. Her policy had been canceled when she filed a claim after a home robbery during an uptick in crime in Alaska.
In January of 2019, Ms. Gage wrote an op-ed for the Anchorage Daily News outlining the experience she and her partner went through after they were burglarized. She noted that “[t]he past few months have been a nightmare of dealing with both insurance and the Anchorage Police Department, mourning the loss of irreplaceable items, as well as struggling every day to feel safe in our home. Finding out that this single insurance claim could jeopardize our financial future has been the icing on a uniquely unpalatable cake.
“Over the past few years, Alaska has seen a significant increase in crime and theft. Many homes and vehicles have been broken into, and irreplaceable items are gone forever,” said Sen. Begich. “We all want to protect our belongings when we move into a new home. I am pleased the legislature came together and took steps to assure homeowners and renters can continue to insure their assets when an unfortunate situation occurs.”
“During a workday, someone decided to hop our fence, use a tool from our shed to break a window, and rob our home,” said Ms. Gage. “After filing a claim, the insurance company informed us they would not renew our policy. This was an incident that was not caused by our actions, but someone else’s. I am glad these protections for Alaskans are in place going forward.”
“This is was a bill to prevent victims from being revictimized. I am disappointed that Governor Dunleavy did not wish to put his stamp of approval on it to show his commitment to protecting Alaskans, but at least it is law now,” concluded Sen. Begich.