CSAO: Public Safety and Security Committee - March 6, 2018

TESTIMONY OF THE DIVISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE

IN SUPPORT OF:

S.B. No. 283 (RAISED) AN ACT ALLOWING POLICE OFFICERS TO OBTAIN INFORMATION TO BE FURNISHED RELATIVE TO FIRE LOSSES.

JOINT COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY AND SECURITY
March 6, 2018

The Division of Criminal Justice supports S.B. No. 283, An Act Allowing Police Officers to Obtain Information to be Furnished Relative to Fire Losses, and respectfully recommends the Committee’s JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT for this bill.

S.B. No. 283 amends Section 38a-318 of the General Statutes to better facilitate the investigation of explosions that may be suspicious or incentiary in nature and both fires and explosions where the cause of the fire or explosion has not yet been determined. The bill further enhances the ability of public safety authorities to investigate fires and explosions by expanding those investigators who may request records from an insurance company.

The first proposed change is to allow law enforcement authorities to obtain records of an insurance company’s investigation when there is an explosion. This change would merely correct an oversight in the statute.  Section 38a-318, as now written, allows a fire marshal to request information from an insurance company that investigates a fire that is suspicious or incendiary in nature but does not authorize the fire marshal to obtain the information when there is an explosion, even if the explosion is deliberately caused. 

The bill would also authorize law enforcement authorities to obtain records of an insurance company’s investigation when the cause of the fire has yet to be determined – under the current statute they can only request the information when the fire is labeled as suspicious.  This would ensure that the fire marshal and law enforcement authorities have all of the relevant information when they are determining what occurred. 

Finally, the bill would expand the definition of “authorized agency” to include “federal, state or local law enforcement officer[s] when authorized or charged with the investigation of fires or explosions at the place where the fire or explosion actually took place.” There is no reason to exclude these professionals from the list of people who can obtain information from the insurance companies. 

 

In conclusion, the Division respectfully recommends the Committee’s JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT for S.B. No. 283. We thank the Committee for affording this opportunity to provide input on this matter and would be happy to provide any additional information the Committee might require or to answer any questions that you might have.



Content Last Modified on 3/6/2018 11:41:34 AM