Water, water, everywhere – except Judge Senter’s Order

After reading Judge Senter’s latest Order in a Katrina claims dispute, I just had to know more about the case – but first his Order as he makes his position on motions for summary judgment very clear.

The only motion before the Court in this cause of action, Defendant’s [72] Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, is straightforward and aimed at Plaintiff’s claims for punitive damages and extra-contractual damages. Under the standards of Fed. R. Civ. P. 56, the request for relief is not well taken at this time.
The gravamens of Plaintiff’s allegations are that Defendant failed to conduct an adequate investigation of damage to his home caused by Hurricane Katrina and that Defendant delayed payment of covered losses. After a thorough review of the record, the Court is not in a position to say that there are no genuine issues of material fact justifying judgment as a matter of law on the issues of punitive and extra-contractual damages.

Plaintiff has come forward with sufficient evidence to warrant further consideration of the alleged delay in the payment of benefits eventually made, as well as the overall handling of the claim. Defendant’s adoption of the mantra that Plaintiff accepted full benefits under his flood policy does not foreclose damage from a covered loss, especially when Defendant “concedes that its subsequent investigation uncovered some separate and independent wind damage.”

This “subsequent investigation” led to the tender of $25,742.00 in policy benefits after Plaintiff retained a lawyer and litigation had been instituted. See generally Broussard v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., 523 F.3d 618 (5th Cir. 2008)…

Furthermore, as the Court has stated numerous times, it is difficult to envision a breach of an insurance contract suit without consideration of the manner in which the claim was handled. This would be the case even if punitive or extra-contractual damages were not sought. Therefore, Plaintiff will be allowed to introduce evidence in the initial phase concerning the handling of the claim by Defendant (keeping in mind that the Court will instruct the jury on the applicable law).

Not a clue about the case anywhere in Order and I wanted to know what evidence the plaintiff  was going to introduce about State Farm’s handling of the Katrina damage claim.

Eventually I learned, as you will see – and, I promise you’re going to want too – so hang around! Continue reading “Water, water, everywhere – except Judge Senter’s Order”

All the world’s a stage – a perspective on the global implications of proposed federal backstop

And one man in his time plays many part.
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,

Edward Liddy is a player who made made his exit as CEO of Allstate in December 2006 and his entrance as CEO of AIG  this past September.

One of the many parts he will play in his time is the role of  advocate for a federal backstop to the property/casualty insurance insurance industry – a role he played at a December 2005 industry conference.

… catastrophic storms can impact geographies beyond traditional coastal areas, is precisely why the industry needs a federal backstop.

Liddy said the approach is two-pronged: states should have a pool funded with a portion of premiums paid by policyholders — modeled after the reinsurance-like Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund as well as a federal backstop that would be broadly funded and would grow on a tax-free basis…

In December 2005, I was too busy finding coats for families that had lost theirs and more to Katrina to give insurance much thought. However, the idea of a federal backstop is about as appealing to me as spending another night in a travel trailer with no heat.

Having given insurance a great deal of thought since joining Sop on Slabbed, I see a clear connection between a federal backstop and the world stage that is the place where the men and women of the insurance industry will increasingly make their exits and entrances.  In that regard, I found Liddy’s comments recorded in a  transcipt of the PBS program, CEO Exchange, particularly interesting. Continue reading “All the world’s a stage – a perspective on the global implications of proposed federal backstop”