Nationwide settling Katrina claims

By John O'Brien | Apr 24, 2007


One of the five insurance companies sued by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood over an alleged lack of coverage following Hurricane Katrina has settled more than 200 claims and will revisit others.

Nationally known trial lawyer Richard Scruggs' Scruggs Katrina Group announced Monday a mass settlement of 227 claims with Nationwide, though terms of the deal were not disclosed.

And in a decision similar to one made by State Farm that affected approximately 36,000 policyholders, Nationwide and Mississippi Insurance Commissioner George Dale agreed to revisit other claims.

"This means that all of SKG's lawsuits against Nationwide on behalf of policyholders will be dismissed," a statement on the Scruggs Katrina Group's website says. "The terms of the settlement are confidential. We are pleased to recommend this settlement to all of our Nationwide clients. We plan to begin meeting with our Nationwide clients to explain the settlement Wednesday of this week.

Nationwide has already paid out $270 million because of Katrina, a report from Dow Jones Newswires says. It added that letters to "several hundred" Nationwide customers have been mailed because of the agreement with Dale.

State Farm reached its agreement with Dale because U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter would not approve most of a settlement between it and Hood because of several reasons. Scruggs has publicly denounced the agreement between State Farm and Dale, claiming there is a lack of oversight during the revisiting procedure.

Scruggs went as far as depicting Dale as a pig wearing lipstick in a cartoon.

Other than Nationwide and State Farm, the insurance companies sued by Hood are Allstate, Farm Bureau and USAA.

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