Jan. 30, 2002                                                         Contact:Lucas Hamilton

Morrison announces Montana will deny terrorism exclusions in home and auto insurance policies


      State Auditor John Morrison announced today that the Montana Insurance Department will not allow insurance companies to exclude terrorism from homeowners, auto or other personal lines insurance policies.
      "We hope Montana is never attacked by terrorists," Morrison said. "But Montana families need to feel secure that their insurance will cover the damage if something does happen."
      The Montana Insurance Department, which must approve most insurance policies before they are sold in the state, has received requests for terrorism exclusions from several hundred insurance companies or their representatives. Companies have asked the department to exclude terrorism from homeowners, dwelling and personal liability insurance. Under Morrison's ruling, the companies will be required to cover terrorism in these policies.
      "If a family's house catches on fire, they will expect their homeowners policy to cover it, regardless of whether the fire was started by lightning, an accident or a terrorist attack," Morrison said.
      Morrison's announcement followed a national press conference at which he and Iowa Insurance Commissioner Terri Vaughn announced the decision of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to recommend that all states disapprove terrorism exclusions. Morrison said he would consider requests for exclusions from personal lines only under extraordinary circumstances.
      Morrison, head of the organization's legal issues group, led national telephonic hearings over the past three weeks involving more than 100 insurance regulators from 46 states, and representatives from insurance and consumer interest groups.
      "Commissioner Morrison has done the right thing for Montana insurance consumers and has been a national leader on this issue," said Roger McGlenn, executive director of the Independent Insurance Agents of Montana.
      In December, Morrison approved limited terrorism exclusions in commercial insurance. That decision came after the National Association of Insurance Commissioners recommended approval of a narrowed terrorism exclusion negotiated by Morrison and other commissioners.