Matt Lesser

State Senator

Matt Lesser

Deputy Majority Leader

Your Independent Voice

April 14, 2021

State Senator Matt Lesser Leads Senate Passage on Legislation that Expands Travel Insurance to Cover Death by Suicide

Today, the State Senate voted to approve legislation that will expand travel insurance coverage for a person who die by suicide and for their traveling companion. State Senator Matt Lesser (D-Middletown), Co-Chair of the Insurance & Real Estate Committee, led the debate on the Senate floor today on Senate Bill 89, ‘An Act Concerning Travel Insurance and Suicide.’ The bill, introduced by Senator Derek Slap (D-West Hartford) will prohibit insurance companies that issue travel insurance policies in this state from excluding coverage because the insured or the insured’s spouse, child, dependent relative who resides in the insured’s household or traveling companion die by suicide.

“Travel insurance exists for a reason,” said Sen. Lesser. “This should never have been an issue in the first place, but I’m glad a tiny bit of good could come from the unspeakable pain experienced by this family. It’s my understanding that the travel insurance industry on a national basis is moving to ensure that no family ever has to fight for their travel insurance after experience such a tragedy.”

Senate Bill 89 stems from a family in West Hartford who suffered a tragedy in 2019. The Brennan family were planning to take an international trip, booked their flights and purchased travel insurance. However, on July 14, 2019, their 25-year old son died by suicide. Sean’s mother, Robin Brennan, could not continue on with their family trip and submitted a claim for a full refund. Two days before the trip, her claim was denied with the reason being the cause of death. The family fought the insurance company and eventually took this issue to the Insurance and Real Estate Committee. Mental illness is a disease like any other. If Sean had died by cancer or another illness, the claim would have been approved.

If this bill becomes enacted into law, beginning October 1, 2021, no policy will exclude coverage for people who die by suicide or for their traveling companion and they will be financially protected when purchasing travel insurance.