Let’s Blow Up Some Myths…

The CFSIC board met yesterday on November 27. The board very carefully considered your many comments, questions, and criticisms. As mentioned on Steve Werbner’s page, we need a few days to make the significant changes the board has made to the underwriting and claims management guidelines. Many of these changes will improve our process and are designed to help more people. We will then get these changes up on the site, and we will be clear about what we’ve changed and the effect these changes have on concerned homeowners. Will this cause a delay in CFSIC’s launch? Yes…it will, but it’s the kind of delay that is going to result in a better process and a more equitable disbursement of funds.

It’s important to blow up some of the myths that are floating around. The following myths were repeated in dozens of emails we received during the comment period, so we thought it would be helpful to weigh in with the truth.

Myth #1: “CFSIC is not going to get its funding, and it will shut down.”

As of right now (November 28) I can tell you that all evidence points to CFSIC having its preliminary funding by the end of this week, thanks to some very hard work by dedicated people in Connecticut state government, and that as a result there will be no reason to suspend operations as had been originally announced.

Myth #2: “CFSIC’s electronic claim system will crash on Day One because of all the applications it’s going to get.”

Not going to happen. ESIS ProClaim, CFSIC’s outsourced claim administration firm, handles thousands of electronically filed claims each day. A few hundred from our project will amount to no stress whatsoever on their system.

Myth #3: “I’m a Type 2 homeowner, and I plan to drive over to the ESIS ProClaim office and make them complete my application in front of me so I can be in line first.”

If you do that, all you assure is that the people who are sitting comfortably at home, with a hot cup of coffee in front of them… filing their applications electronically… will be date-stamped ahead of you in line. It will defeat your purpose. If you need help with your application, if you don’t understand something, if something is unclear or you have a question…ESIS will be on the other end of the phone to help you, or will welcome your visit to their office. If your sole purpose in driving over to Simsbury to the ESIS office is to try to get in line faster, you will find that during the time you were driving, your neighbors were filing applications.

Myth #4: “The captive will run out of money before it gets to me and my claim.”

We’ve been clear from Day One that our resources are finite. CFSIC’s financial resources are less than the calculable value of all the foundations we need to help fix. I doubt there is anyone on the face of the planet who does not understand that reality. But to be clear, there is going to be enough money, if we get what the enabling legislation says we’re supposed to, to help several hundred homeowners either fix their foundations or receive reimbursement for foundations already replaced. There is also a tremendous misconception out there: many think that there are several hundred homeowners who have already replaced their foundations, and we will therefore use all the funds allocated for those reimbursements, and not have any money left for persons who need foundation replacements. There is absolutely no evidence that several hundred homeowners have already replaced their foundations and will be applying for reimbursements when we launch. Do we have enough money to do the job we need to for all homeowners? No, we don’t…but we also want to caution homeowners that there is going to be more than enough to get started if state government cooperates with us by approving regular bond installments of our funding and in turn actually providing those funds to us in a timely way.

Myth #5: “The Superintendent decided to eliminate condos to give money to single-family homeowners.”

This Superintendent neither has nor wants that kind of authority. The legislation says what it says. A condominium is already and without dispute an eligible “residential building” under the enabling legislation just like a single-family home is. There is no distinction. We got dozens of form emails, all saying the same thing about our purposeful exclusion of condominiums.  Condominiums are not excluded. However, what is also true is that if you have five or more condo living units on one foundation, all five are ineligible under the current legislation, because they exceed the maximum of four on the same foundation that is now clearly in the language of the legislation. The legislators who serve as ex-officio board members on CFSIC’s board understand this issue and are going to help. Our best advice to the public, meanwhile, is to use their already existing means of social media and other forms of communication to reach out to their elected representatives to assure that the legislation is rapidly changed. I have offered to meet with the largest condo group affected. My door is open to learn more about what it will take to fix condos once the legislation wording is changed. That change, by the way, involves a handful of words…period.

Myth #6: “CFSIC has set a quota of 8 claims for reimbursements from the date of launch until the close of its first fiscal year on June 30, 2019, and that’s all CFSIC is going to pay.”

Only part of this is correct. It is true that the current claims management guidelines call for a quota on reimbursements of 8 paid claims (not 8 submitted claims, but 8 claims actually paid) between the time of launch and 6/30/19. I expect that number to increase, not decrease, based on final changes to the underwriting guidelines. At no time has CFSIC announced that all it will pay is 8 reimbursement claims during its statutory life, which currently ends on June 30, 2022. By the way, and again, it’s 8 paid claims under the current guidelines. By way of example, if you are seeking reimbursement and are #11 in line on the list with your application at 11:59 PM on June 30, 2019…all that means, under the current guidelines, is that one minute later on, July 1, 2019, you’re #3…but as I’ve written above, you should expect a reconsideration of the quota issue.

Myth #7: “I have to have my two contractor bids ready to submit with my application.”

Not true. Nowhere in the current underwriting guidelines is that indicated. You complete your application and attach all supporting materials. Once your application is approved, you are contacted by ESIS, and then…and only then…are you instructed to proceed to obtain a minimum of two bids for your foundation project.

There are plenty more myths that came through during the comment period. The ones I’ve decided to address above are the ones that were the most prevalent among the emails we received. We’re committed to helping you getting the facts you need, setting the record straight, and above all else reinforcing with you the idea that CFSIC, its board, its Superintendent, and its staff are committed to doing the right thing each and every day.

Michael Maglaras, Principal
Michael Maglaras & Company
Superintendent, CFSIC