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Insurers Abandon Long Island After Sandy, Schumer Says

Allstate Corp. is among insurers retreating from the Long Island homeowners market after superstorm Sandy and should be compelled to offer coverage there, New York Senator Charles Schumer said.

Liberty Mutual Holding Co. and Bloomington, Illinois-based State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. are also scaling back, forcing residents to pay more for homeowners’ policies, Schumer, a Democrat, said today in a statement. He called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency to penalize home insurers if they abandon the region.

Representatives of all three insurers said they remain committed to the state. “Allstate is currently writing homeowners policies on Long Island and throughout New York,” Kyle Donash, a spokesman at the Northbrook, Illinois-based company, said in an e-mail. Allstate is the largest publicly traded U.S. home and auto insurer.

Sandy, the biggest Atlantic storm in history, struck the U.S. East Coast on Oct. 29, killing more than 100 people and destroying homes and businesses. Its $18.8 billion in claims made it the third-costliest U.S. storm on record, the Insurance Information Institute has said.

“With precious little justification, policies are being dropped left and right, even for those who paid all their bill on time,” Schumer said. “Many of these homeowners were not even affected by superstorm Sandy and now they’re being forced into extremely expensive plans.”

State Farm “has no plans to withdraw from the state,” Rachael Risinger, a spokeswoman at State Farm, said in an e-mail. “State Farm is one of the largest writers of homeowners insurance in the state.”

Liberty Mutual is “writing new and renewal homeowners insurance business throughout New York state, including Long Island,” Glenn Greenberg, a spokesman for the insurer, said in an e-mail.

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