April 20, 2021
The State Senate voted to approve legislation introduced by state Senator Derek Slap (D-West Hartford) that would prohibit insurance companies in Connecticut that offer travel insurance from denying an insurance claim because an insured’s family member or friend died by suicide, thereby cancelling the vacation and losing any deposits the family may have already made. State Senator James Maroney (D-Milford) voted in favor of Senate Bill 89, An Act Concerning Travel Insurance and Suicide.
“I am thankful to Senator Slap for introducing this concept and I thank both Senators Lesser and Slap for their advocacy on this issue,” said Sen. Maroney. “I also want to thank them for their receptiveness to my amendment to change the language in the bill to state, ‘died by suicide.’ Words matter and it is important that we change the language around suicide. I would encourage anyone who is feeling overwhelmed or sad to call 211, and if you know someone who may be experiencing the feeling of being heavily overwhelmed or depression, the state has great resources on preventsuicidect.org. “
Senate Bill 89 stems from a family in West Hartford who suffered a tragedy in 2019. The Brennan family were planning to take an international trip, booked their flights and purchased travel insurance. However, on July 14, 2019, their 25-year old son, Sean, died by suicide. Sean’s mother, Robin Brennan, could not continue on with their family trip and submitted a claim for a full refund. Two days before the trip, her claim was denied with the reason being the cause of death. The family fought the insurance company and eventually took this issue to the Insurance and Real Estate Committee. Mental illness is a disease like any other. If Sean had died by cancer or another illness, the claim would have been approved.
If this bill becomes enacted into law, beginning October 1, 2021, no policy will exclude coverage for people who die by suicide or for their traveling companion and they will be financially protected when purchasing travel insurance.
This press release was produced by CGA. The views expressed here are the author’s own.