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Mississippi AG asks citizens to call for Katrina flood settlement

By John O'Brien | Jan 2, 2007


JACKSON, Miss. - After having his lawsuit against five insurance companies remanded to state court, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood recently asked for regular citizens to put the heat on the companies.

"I urge every policyholder and insurance agent in Mississippi to call or e-mail their insurance company and tell them to work with us on a settlement to help our fellow Mississippians on our coast," Hood said in a Dec. 27 release.

The release was partly dedicated to expressing Hood's desire for a settlement in a lawsuit he initiated 15 months ago following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

The suit claimed five insurance companies -- State Farm, Allstate, Nationwide, Farm Bureau and USAA -- were to blame for the flooding that destroyed billions of dollars worth of property. The companies argued that protection against flooding was not included in their policies but by federal flood insurance.

So they moved to have the case heard in federal court. U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter sided with Hood, however, and remanded the case to the Chancery Court of Hinds County where Judge Denise Sweet Owens will preside over it.

For attempting to move the case to federal court in order to use its federal flood insurance defense, Hood called the companies "sneaky."

"The Democratic takeover in Congress and the most catastrophic event in history have created the first chance America has had in decades to review our national insurance policy," Hood said.

"I know that Senator Trent Lott will also be working with the Democratic leadership to investigate the insurance industry."

Lott has his own personal lawsuit against State Farm over wind damage to his beachfront home.

"Allstate is disappointed with the federal court's decision to return (Hood's) case to the state courts," said April Eaton, Allstate's senior corporate relations manager for their southern region.

"We're reviewing our options at this point. Whatever court ultimately decides the case, we're confident the court's ruling will be consistent with the numerous court decisions that have already upheld the validity of our flood exclusion language."

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