Nationwide Mutual Refutes Miss. AG Hood’s Allegations As ‘Unfounded’

September 16, 2005

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company has issued a statement it hopes will set the record straight regarding Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood’s acusations that insurance adjusters attempted to cheat Hurricane Katrina survivors out of millions of dollars in homeowner’s claims.

Hood’s suit, filed on Thursday, specifically referred to Nationwide
and its adjusters, saying they and others, asked policyholders to sign forms that acknowledge they sustained flood damage, which is not covered by homeowners insurance.

“Adjusters are cajoling victims to sign the forms, saying they are necessary to receive an immediate check for living expenses. Then the companies can use the sentence regarding flood damage against policyholders later,” Hood said.

Hood’s suit named Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., Allstate Property and Casualty Co. and United Services Automobile Association as defendants.

“Nationwide wants to set the record straight,” information received by Insurance Journal from the company said. “The allegations made by the Mississippi attorney general are unfounded. Our company is absolutely not asking policyholders to acknowledge damage is flood related in order to receive a check for living expenses. No such form or activity is sanctioned by Nationwide, nor does Nationwide own any company called Nationwide Flood Insurance Company as noted in the legal action filed Thursday.

“We are deeply disappointed with the allegations by the Mississippi attorney general against well-established flood exclusions contained in policyholder language. If these long recognized and relied upon exclusions were to be deemed null and void, it would have a significant negative impact on insurance policyholders across the country. There is a federal flood insurance program available to all individuals who desire to purchase this coverage.

“As we have consistently said, Nationwide will continue to investigate each claim presented to it on its own merits before making any coverage decision.”

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