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Following energy issues in the state of Connecticut and beyond.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Insurance Company Gets Charge Out of Alternative Energy Vehicles

The Hartford Financial Services Group is betting that electric cars will become more prevalent than they are now, both in Connecticut as well as nationwide.

The insurer is installing electric recharging stations at three of its corporate campuses in the Hartford area. And it is modifying its homeowners insurance products to include several new features designed to appeal to those support "green" lifestyles.

“These new charging stations are an exciting and innovative way for The Hartford to show its commitment to Connecticut, its residents and the environment,” said Liam E. McGee, The Hartford’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Electric vehicle charging stations will soon be an integral part of the American infrastructure, both at the workplace and in the home. Installing electric vehicle charging stations and providing insurance coverage for them demonstrates our support for developing the electric vehicle market and our commitment to a cleaner environment.”

McGee's remarks came at a press event Wednesday in Harftord to promote these renewable energy initiatives. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy was among those on hand to celebrate The Hartford's announcement.

Of all the thousands of employees The Hartford has in Connecticut, only one - Ken Nelson (shown above) - already has an electric car. Nelson and his car were in the spotlight Wednesday as he demonstrated how other company employees will be able to recharge their vehicles, free of charge.

Heather Lodini, a company spokeswoman, said several other employees are on waiting lists to purchase electric vehicles because of their limited availability in the state.

In conjunction with the installation of the charging units, The Hartford is add several to its homeowners policies. Those new features include:

- Electric Vehicle Charger Coverage: The devices are now clearly included as covered property for new and existing customers that have the units in their homes.

- Green Rebuilding Coverage: Offers additional coverage for using environmentally-friendly materials or processes to make repairs after a loss that the insurer pays for. It also covers making necessary replacements with more energy-efficient or environmentally-friendly property.

Both features will be widely available by the end of the year, company officials said. And hopefully by then, Nelson will have some company at The Hartford's recharging stations.

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