Anita Lee has a way of finding the perfect example to illustrate the complex chain of events that has become the post Katrina experience on the coast. I have had far more ideas for posts than time to write them but I’ll lay my plans for this morning aside because Mr Moran’s story is too good to keep from our readers.
Before I get to the Anita’s report I’ll backtrack to set up the slabbed background for the story. It all started when Jim Hood announced he settled his State civil case against State Farm, kicking off the rather predictable shill response from the combo of partisan Jim Hood haters and insurance types. We weren’t shy about calling out the spinmeisters and their self serving revisionist history of those particular events by presenting less biased contemporary news accounts from the time.
What started as another Jim Hood cyber dog pile morphed to the ridiculous when former disgraced insurance commissioner George Dale and current commissioner Mike Chaney chimed in claiming Jim Hood deserved none of the credit for the second State Farm round of mediation and claims re evaluation saying the Mississippi Insurance Department deserved it.
The sheer stupidity of the pols claiming credit for what happened with State Farm after the storm lead us to visit the history beginning with the first MID mediation program which was deeply flawed and allowed for an officially sanctioned platform for insurers to fleece their policyholders. My remembrances from the time was the elderly were especially vulnerable to being taken advantage of by George Dale’s mediation process. Revisiting that issue also raised a legal question and Nowdy’s post and the resulting comments further illuminated why the slabbed largely viewed MID’s mediation as a sham. We continue to give George Dale and Mike Chaney at MID the credit they so publicly craved for helping a large insurance company screw the citizens of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
This leads us back to Anita Lee’s excellent account of Mr Roland Moran and his battle with the Good Neighbor. I do hope Commissioner Chaney calls Mr Moran to let him know he and George Dale deserve the credit for his predicament rather than Jim Hood. Interesting that the process has morphed from one of properly adjusting Mr Moran’s claim to giving him the minimum due. We have source documents from the story here and here. The elderly were especially vulnerable in George Dale’s mediation as Mr Moran’s story again illustrates.
State Farm has told Roland Moran he can take or leave a final payment for damage from Katrina.
Moran must decide by Friday whether he will settle for the $57,000 State Farm is offering. The company refuses to pay the amount set through an arbitration process – $170,150 for additional wind damage – but the state and courts have left him little if any recourse. His other option may be zero.
“I feel that they just run over people,” Moran said. “They offer them something and hope they’ll take it and just go on.”
State Farm disputes Moran’s view of his claim.
“State Farm has gone through every process and procedure in an effort to satisfy Mr. Moran,” spokesman Jeff McCollum said Tuesday. “And even at this point when we are not obligated to pay more, we are making another attempt to pay additional money.”
The Morans lost their St. Martin home to Hurricane Katrina. By State Farm’s measure, 5 feet of Back Bay water flooded the house, which Moran had paid off in 1991. In January 2006, State Farm denied his claim. He had no flood insurance.
Moran, who retired from Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, hired a public adjuster to document his losses from Category 3 winds.
Differences were settled in a state-run mediation program. Moran accepted a check for $90,000 – around 18 percent of his State Farm policy limits – and relinquished his right to sue over the damage in dispute.
In response to complaints about State Farm, the Mississippi Insurance Department in March 2007 ordered the company to re-evaluate policyholders’ losses Coastwide, including those previously settled through mediation. For homeowners such as Moran who were left with only piers or slabs, total payments from State Farm for all coverages available – structural, personal property, loss of use – had to equal at least 50 percent of structural policy limits.
State Farm offered $57,000, or about 52 percent of Moran’s policy limits, which he rejected. He chose another option the Insurance Department had for re-evaluation, non-binding arbitration.
Each side stated its case in the wind vs. water debate. Moran wanted $267,000. State Farm offered $76,388.
Seven days later, the arbitrator finalized his decision, finding Moran was entitled to $170,150 for additional wind damage. State Farm refused to pay that amount.
Moran sued, seeking policy limits, $50,000 for emotional distress and $5 million in damages to punish the company for “gross reckless negligence.” The lawsuit was filed in state court, but moved at State Farm’s request to federal court.
The case was thrown out.
Jan. 17, 2006: State Farm denies St. Martin resident Roland Moran’s Katrina claim, citing the flood exemption in its policy.
Sept. 14, 2006: Moran accepts $90,000 from State Farm at mediation and relinquishes his right to sue unless additional damage is discovered.
March 19, 2007: State Farm agrees to reopen claims, including those settled in mediation. Moran is offered an additional $57,000 for wind damage.
Aug. 7, 2007: In non-binding arbitration, State Farm offers Moran $76,388, which he rejects.
Aug. 14, 2007: The arbitrator concludes State Farm owes Moran an additional $170,150 for wind damage, an amount the insurer refuses to pay.
Oct. 22, 2007: Moran sues State Farm, seeking policy limits, $50,000 for emotional distress and $5 million to punish the company for treating him with “gross reckless negligence;” State Farm has the case moved to federal court.
July 2, 2008:Judge Sul Ozerden dismisses Moran’s lawsuit because he signed a legal release in mediation and has documented no additional property damage since then.
Aug. 26, 2008: State Farm’s final offer to Moran is $57,000.