NEW YORK, May 17, 2000 — Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO) has unveiled a new homeowners insurance program, Homeowners 2000 (HO 2000), that updates coverages, adds a number of new optional endorsements, and introduces new rules to reflect the changes in coverages and endorsements.
Reflecting the times, HO 2000 policy enhancements include coverage of golf carts used in residential communities, personal effects and personal liability exposures of persons living in assisted-care facilities, and live-in companions of the named insured. ISO's overhaul of the homeowners policy forms reflects court precedents established since 1991 — the last time the ISO homeowners program underwent such sweeping review.
In all, ISO's HO 2000 Program incorporates more than 40 changes to the homeowners insurance policy forms, creates a new policy form — HO-5 — and 20 new optional endorsements. In addition, the ISO program introduces 18 new rules to complement new endorsements and changes 29 current rules.
"We came up with the new program after an extensive review of court rulings and lifestyle changes among an expanding and aging population," said Michael Fusco, ISO's executive vice president — insurance services. "With input from insurers and producers, we have expanded coverages for property, raised limits in some categories, revised coverages in a handful of instances, elaborated upon the intent of some of our existing policy language, and developed new optional endorsements," Fusco added.
"ISO considers the policy-form changes to be revenue-neutral for insurers, as loss costs for coverages that are broadened will be offset by curtailed coverages in other categories," Fusco noted.
Expanded property coverages include structures on residential premises used for storing business property of an insured or the insured's tenant.
The program raises coverage limits for additional living expenses for the insured homeowner who has to live elsewhere temporarily because the home has sustained a covered loss, and for specific categories of personal property, including securities, passports, personal records, watercraft, and electronic apparatus and accessories inside or upon motor vehicles; and theft of jewelry and firearms.
Additional coverages include higher limits for removal of fallen trees that damage covered property, or block and prevent the use of a driveway, or block and prevent the use of a handicapped access to the dwelling, as well as losses from electronic fund-transfer cards, and vandalism against grave markers.
The HO 2000 policy form also revises the coverage limit for money, which has been expanded to include scrip, stored-value cards, and smart cards. The new policy form provides that college students, attending school full-time and living away from home, are insured under the homeowners policy. The new policy form covers a full-time student who is under the age of 24 and is a relative of the insured homeowner.
Reflecting lifestyle changes, ISO's HO 2000 Program provides liability coverage for motorized golf carts when the insured owner uses the vehicle at a golfing facility or within the boundaries of a private residential community. Optional endorsements in the HO 2000 Program also cover the personal property and personal liability exposures of relatives of an insured residing in an assisted-living care facility, and of otherwise non-insured members of the household, such as the live-in companion of the named insured.
ISO has started filing the new Homeowners 2000 Program with state insurance regulators for implementation beginning in December 2000.