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Massachusetts: Take Action to Support Bill to Eliminate Breed-Specific Bans in Insurance Policies

(Monday, September 09, 2013)
The American Kennel Club (AKC) has learned that Massachusetts House Bill 918 will be heard by the Joint Financial Services Committee on Tuesday, September 17, 2013. The bill seeks to prohibit insurance companies from refusing to issue or renew, cancel, or charge an increased rate for homeowners’ insurance based on the breed of dog owned by the policy holder. Both the AKC and the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners (MassFed) support HB 918.

Summary:
As introduced, House Bill 918 prohibits insurance companies from refusing to issue or renew, cancelling, or charging an increased rate for homeowners’ insurance based on the breed owned. The bill does allow for insurance companies to take these actions if the dog has been declared dangerous based on current law. Additionally, all dog bite/attack cases that result in medical treatment must be reported within 60 days of the incident to Massachusetts’ Department of Public Health, which will compile statistics on the issue. Insurers will be released from liability for paying for damages if owners fail to report a qualifying incident within 60 days.

Position:
The American Kennel Club believes that insurance companies should determine coverage of a dog-owning household based on the dog’s deeds, not the dog’s breed. If a dog is a well-behaved member of the household and community, there is no reason to deny or cancel coverage. In fact, insurance companies should consider a dog an asset, a natural alarm system whose bark may deter intruders and prevent potential theft.

The American Kennel Club supports House Bill 918 as introduced.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Contact the members of the Joint Committee on Financial Services and express your strong support of HB 918. (For talking points against breed-specific legislation and practices, click here.)

Senate Members:

Senator Anthony W. Petruccelli, Senate Chair
Phone: 617-722-1634
Fax: 617-722-1076
Email: Anthony.Petruccelli@masenate.gov

Senator Brian A. Joyce, Senate Vice Chair
Phone: 617-722-1643
Fax: 617-722-1522
Email: Brian.A.Joyce@masenate.gov

Senator John F. Keenan
Phone: 617-722-1494
Fax: 617-722-1055
Email: John.Keenan@masenate.gov

Senator Michael J. Rodrigues
Phone: 617-722-1114
Fax: 617-722-1498
Email: Michael.Rodrigues@masenate.gov

Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives
Phone: 617-722-1604
Fax: 617-722-1999
Email: Kathleen.OConnorIves@masenate.gov

Senator Robert L. Hedlund
Phone: 617-722-1646
Fax: 617-722-1028
Email: Robert.Hedlund@masenate.gov

House Members:

Representative Michael A. Costello
Phone: 617-722-2220
Fax: 617-722-2846
Email: Michael.Costello@mahouse.gov

Representative John V. Fernandes
Phone: 617-722-2220
Fax: 617-626-0706
Email: John.Fernandes@mahouse.gov

Representative Christopher G. Fallon
Phone: 617-722-2430
Fax: 617-722-2436
Email: Christopher.Fallon@mahouse.gov

Representative James J. Dwyer
Phone: 617-722-2220
Fax: 617-626-0831
Email: James.Dwyer@mahouse.gov

Representative Russell E. Holmes
Phone: 617-722-2220
Fax: 617-626-0205
Email: Russell.Holmes@mahouse.gov

Representative Marjorie C. Decker
Phone: 617-722-2430
Fax: 617-626-0337
Email: Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov

Representative Donald H. Wong
Phone: 617-722-2488
Fax: 617-626-0299
Email: Donald.Wong@mahouse.gov

Representative Kevin J. Murphy
Phone: 617-722-2877
Fax: 617-626-0514
Email: Kevin.Murphy@mahouse.gov

Representative Edward F. Coppinger
Phone: 617-722-2304
Fax: 617-626-0158
Email: Edward.Coppinger@mahouse.gov

Representative John J. Lawn, Jr.
Phone: 617-722-2304
Fax: 617-626-0150
Email: John.Lawn@mahouse.gov

Representative Susan Williams Gifford
Phone: 617-722-2976
Fax: 617-722-2848
Email: Susan.Gifford@mahouse.gov

For more information, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at 919-816-3720, or email doglaw@akc.org; or the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners at info@massfeddogs.org.