More than $5.73 Million Recovered in Katrina Insurance Cases
Mississippi has recovered more than $5.7 million from settlements in the Homeowner Assistance Program (“HAP”) cases regarding misconduct by homeowner insurance companies after Hurricane Katrina, announced Attorney General Jim Hood.
The state returned $5,738,016.74 to the Mississippi Development Authority’s Disaster Recovery Office. The litigation was filed in Hinds County Circuit Court between November 2015 and April 2018, seeking to recover damages for HAP proceeds that the state distributed to Katrina victims but that the insurance companies should have paid instead under their homeowner insurance policies.
Mississippi established HAP after Katrina to provide financial assistance to Mississippi homeowners whose insurance did not fully cover the damage caused by the storm. General Hood alleged in these lawsuits that these insurance companies mischaracterized Katrina wind damage (which its policies covered) as flood damage (which its policies did not cover) and otherwise understated compensable Katrina wind damage to improperly minimize their own financial burdens and foist that burden instead onto HAP. In doing so, these insurance companies caused Mississippi to pay millions of dollars to thousands of insured Mississippi homeowners that the state otherwise could have allotted to other recovery efforts.
“These insurance companies showed ultimate greed in a time of our state’s greatest need, but they didn’t stop with Mississippi,” General Hood said. “The same guy who altered engineering reports to indicate that storm surge was the cause of damage in Hurricane Katrina, victimized more people in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Greed truly is the root of all evil, and I’m proud that we’re making these companies pay Mississippi the money owed. It should serve as a warning to other companies thinking about taking advantage of Mississippians at any point, but especially after a natural disaster.”
The net recoveries to date include the following four cases:
- Mississippi ex rel. Hood v. Metropolitan Property & Casualty Co. (“MetLife”): $3,167,172.84
- Mississippi ex rel. Hood v. Meritplan Insurance Co.: $1,308,091.09
- Mississippi ex rel. Hood v. Balboa Insurance Co.: $495,358.55
- Mississippi ex rel. Hood v. American Security Insurance Company: $767,394.26
The State has eight additional suits pending against State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, USAA Casualty Insurance Company, United Services Automobile Association, Prime Insurance Company, Allstate Insurance Company, Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company, Allstate Indemnity Company, National Security Fire & Casualty Company, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company, Nationwide Property and Casualty Insurance Company, Safeco Insurance Company of America, and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. Those suits collectively involve more than ten thousand instances of misconduct with damages in the hundreds of millions of dollars.