Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, fresh from a settlement with State Farm over a class action lawsuit and thousands of other disputed Hurricane Katrina property insurance claims, wants other insurers to follow State Farm’s lead and settle claims out of court.
He said he has been in discussions with several of these companies with the aim of trying to resolve these issues without the expense and time of litigation and he urged Mississippi policyholders and agents to get in touch with their insurance companies to add pressure.
“I urge every policyholder and insurance agent in Mississippi to call or email their insurance company and tell them to work with us on a settlement to help our fellow Mississippians on our coast,” he added.
“State Farm, Allstate, Nationwide, Farm Bureau, USAA, and Nationwide have caused many people on our coast to wait a year and three months for a decision on the validity of the water exclusionary clause. Now, thanks to [U.S. District Court Judge L.T.] Senter, a second federal judge has agreed with me and told the insurance companies that they were wrong in trying to delay the case in federal court,” Hood said
He said if insurers do not settle, he will meet them in state court.
The AG’s claim urges the court to prevent the insurance companies from refusing to pay for damage caused by storm surge.
He alleged that “sneaky” insurance companies have gone so far as to deny wind damage if any water touched the house. “This just shows how overreaching the insurance industry has become in using their ‘fine print,'” he said.
He also warned insurers that if Katrina issues are not settled, the Democratic-controlled Congress will begin a probe into the industry’s claims practices.
“Unless the insurance companies come forward and help us forge a settlement quickly, I believe that this spring the American people will see through a Congressional investigation the curtain peeled back on some of their antics our investigation has revealed on our Gulf Coast. As a result, I think that the American people will then demand national insurance reform and an American Insurance Bill of Rights,” Hood declared.
Source: Mississippi Attorney General
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