Massachusetts seeks to copy Connecticut with crumbling concrete captive

13-01-2022

Massachusetts seeks to copy Connecticut with crumbling concrete captive

Richard Neal, Massachusetts Congressman

Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal has lent his support to a state bill to establish a captive insurance company to cover costs associated with the problem of crumbling concrete foundations. 

Dozens of affected homeowners gave evidence to the state senate’s Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture in a virtual hearing on 4 January. The properties in question were built in the 1980s with concrete aggregate containing pyrrhotite, a naturally occurring mineral that reacts with air and water and weakens the concrete.

Foundations built with the affected material must be replaced. 

Senate Bill S.548 would require testing of quarries and concrete aggregate for pyrrhotite, introduce tax breaks for those in the region affected, waive building permit fees for foundation replacements, and establish a captive to cover the costs. Twenty-six state legislators already support the bill, authored by Senator Anne Gobi. 

Speaking at the hearing, representative Neal welcomed the bill. He also noted proposals in the Federal Build Back Better legislation, including a neighbourhood homes investment tax credit to help homeowners rebuild, which he vowed to fight to keep in the law that must go through the Senate.

Massachusetts state representative Brian Ashe, a signatory of the bill, also spoke in its favour, noting the costs homeowners can incur, which ran up to $250,000, he said. 

“Some of these people, it will bankrupt them,” he’s reported as saying. 

Representative Tom Delnicki, another signatory, said the captive insurance company would give “folks a light at the end of the tunnel”. 

Several of those who spoke referenced the existing captive and approval of a similar bill by neighbouring state Connecticut, which the same vein of pyrrhotite runs through. The Connecticut Foundation Solutions Indemnity Company (CFSIC) captive already provides cover for the costs of replacing crumbling foundations. 

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