Update: The Police Tribune learned shortly after publication of this story that the insurance agent had provided incorrect information about the manner in which the incident unfolded, and that the state trooper who received the non-renewal notice was actually a 26-year veteran of law enforcement. You can read the interview with the state trooper here.
Old Lyme, CT – Police families were shocked when a state trooper posted a copy of an insurance cancellation notice that said his Vermont Mutual Insurance Company personal umbrella policy had not been renewed because “risk has changed since the policy was issued, unacceptable occupation State trooper.”
The wife of a police officer who shared the letter with The Police Tribune said she was horrified when she read it because it played right into fears about pending police reform and anti-qualified immunity legislation.
Many police families are worried that changes to qualified immunity and coverage provided by police departments would leave officers unable to protect their families from financial ruin if insurance companies aren’t willing to extend coverage to them and they are sued for actions taken in the line of duty.
Numerous local “defund the police” agendas have included removing liability protections for officers that had traditionally been carried by the city for which they worked.
One Maryland police wife compared the looming problem to the shortage of OB-GYNs in the United States that was the result of them being the worst-paid medical specialists incurring the second-highest malpractice insurance costs.
Experts predicted in 2017 that the shortage of doctors to deliver babies would become problematic by 2020 and they weren’t wrong, according to Self.
“I’m really not sure I’m going to be able to do this for another 20 years,” the officer’s wife told The Police Tribune. “Because if [lawmakers] are intent on removing the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights for police offers in Maryland and elsewhere, and now insurance companies can deny officers personal coverage, what recourse do we have?”
Many police families questioned what Vermont Mutual’s cancellation of the state trooper’s policy meant for their own insurance coverage and panic spread in law enforcement families’ social media groups.
The Police Tribune reached out to the state trooper’s insurance agent and learned the situation was unique to that particular law enforcement officer and had nothing to do with new police accountability legislation in Connecticut or any other recent reforms in the nation.
Rob Bouvier, president of Bouvier Insurance, said he was “equally upset about the cancellation notice because we appreciate our first responders.”
Bouvier said he reached out to the president of Vermont Mutual immediately after he heard about the cancellation from the trooper and the president of the insurance company promised to get to the bottom of the matter.
He told The Police Tribune that what he learned was that the cancellation of the policy had nothing whatsoever to do with the current anti-police environment in the country.
Bouvier told The Police Tribune that never in Vermont Mutual’s almost 200 years in business has the company offered insurance products for law enforcement officers.
He said his client was insured by Vermont Mutual and carried a personal umbrella policy prior to becoming a state trooper.
“There was a change in that policy that added the exposure of a state trooper,” Bouvier explained. “The person was insured under the umbrella policy in a different career field and then became a state trooper.”
The cancellation notice was issued to the trooper after he notified the insurance company about his change in profession, according to his insurance agent.
But The Police Tribune learned after this story was published that the insurance agent had provided erroneous information and the state trooper that got cancelled was a 26-year veteran of law enforcement who had been with the state police for 19 years.
You can read the interview with Connecticut State Police Sergeant Michael Rondinone here.
“That was an underwriting standard that has been in place since the 80s,” Bouvier told The Police Tribune. “There was zero connection between this and the Police Accountability Act.”
Despite the fact the cancellation was made because Vermont Mutual doesn’t offer an insurance product that covers personal insurance for law enforcement officers, the company stepped up to the plate to make the situation right for their long-time insurance customer.
“Vermont Mutual has been around for a long while and they have a history of supporting law enforcement and they have never wavered from that,” Bouvier said.
He said the Vermont Mutual President Dan Bridge got personally involved to make the situation right and promised to immediately re-instate the trooper’s coverage despite the fact it’s not something they usually offer.
That does not mean the company will be offering insurance to other law enforcement officers, but rather, extending a privilege to one existing customer, according to Bouvier.
“Vermont Mutual is glad that the matter has been resolved to the satisfaction to the customer,” a company spokesperson told The Police Tribune.
Bouvier told The Police Tribune that he had spoken to his client and confirmed that Vermont Mutual had reinstated his coverage.