Da Corban spin continues: AIA prefers denial while the National Underwriter carries III press release calling it news

Robert Hartwig isn’t the only prostitute (I mean shill) who will say or do anything (and I mean anything) for the right amount of money. Not to be left out and preferring denial over Hartwiggian threats the AIA issued the following press release: (Nowdy isn’t it about time we got some more hits out of Montana on my post about former Bush Groupie Marc Racicot)

The decision issued yesterday in the case of Corban v. USAA by the Mississippi Supreme Court confirms that the water damage exclusion and anti-concurrent causation (ACC) clause – two key issues in Hurricane Katrina litigation — are valid provisions of the insurance contract and will continue to be important to insurers in adjusting wind versus water claims, says the American Insurance Association (AIA).

“First, and most importantly, the Corban decision reaffirms the longstanding flood exclusion provision found in most homeowners’ insurance policies, that expressly excludes coverage for hurricane driven water (or storm surge),” said James Whittle, AIA Assistant General Counsel. “The water damage or flood exclusion has now withstood every post-Katrina court challenge, and remains a part of regulator-approved insurance contracts throughout the country.” .

“Second, the court upheld the use of the ACC clause that was at issue before the court,” said Whittle. “With this ruling the court has provided meaningful guidance to consumers and insurers. Nothing in this decision changes the important role that insurers play in recovery by adjusting claims according to their contracts with policyholders.”

Meantime the National Underwriter has emerged from their months long Corban slumber carrying a III / AIA press release billed as a news story. While I don’t necessarily buy into James’ harsh critique of Anita Lee’s report on Corban it is worth pointing out Anita actually obtained reaction from both sides of the case. I think such is the key difference between journalists and trade pub shills. Lets visit with Sam and the gang at the National Underwriter as Hartwig and company try to pass off the chicken shit of getting their asses kicked in Corban as chicken salad:

The debate over wind-versus-water homeowner claims is not quite as cut and dried thanks to a ruling yesterday by the Mississippi Supreme Court in a Hurricane Katrina case.

The decision by the court in Corban vs. USAA means that wind damage from hurricanes might still be covered even if excluded flood damage caused by a wind-blown storm surge is also present.

The suit was filed by the Corban family following USAA’s rejection of their claim for damage to their Long Beach, Miss., home during Hurricane Katrina on Aug. 9, 2005.

The state’s highest court concluded that in an earlier ruling on the claim, a federal circuit court “did not err in ruling that ‘storm surge’ is included in the ‘water damage’ exclusion. However, the circuit court erred in holding that the [anti-concurrent-causation] clause is applicable in the case sub judice,” meaning in this particular instance.

Therefore, the high court determined, the circuit court order granting partial summary judgment to USAA and denying partial summary judgment to the Corbans regarding the ACC clause and storm surge issues is “affirmed in part and reversed in part. This case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

This means a jury will be asked to decide how much damage was caused by wind rather than excluded water perils, and determine exactly what USAA owes.

Insurance Information President Robert P. Hartwig told National Underwriter in an e-mail that the decision “introduces uncertainty into an issue that virtually all had believed had been settled once and for all by the federal courts.”

He added that “if insurers are now going to be held responsible for damage they believed–and the 5th Circuit believed–was excluded, there are obvious cost consequences. The inconsistency in the decisions between the state and federal courts will at some point need to be resolved.”

I think it is time we put such intellectually dishonest drivel to bed. Long standing legal principles were restored with the Corban decision which overturned the flawed anti concurrent causation analysis contained in Leonard as well as firmly setting out well established legal principle that insurers have the burden of proof to establish a non covered peril caused a loss on a all perils policy.  Insurers, knowing full well the meaning of their policy language were no doubt overjoyed at the gift Edith Jones gave them in Leonard overturning literally hundreds of years of case law but make no mistake they knew the risk they were taking in Mississippi and Louisiana way before Katrina ever struck. To assume these highly paid execs were ignorant of their own policy langauage or that Corban somehow changes the coverage equation is wacky. Just not as wacky as Robert Hartwig saying the Washington State Insurer Fair Conduct Act (that requires insurers treat their first party claimants in good faith) would cause costs to rise there if passed. It did pass and Hartwig’s threats turned out to be of the empty variety as we continue:

However, a USAA representative, Paul Berry, told the Biloxi Sun Herald the carrier was “pleased” with the state Supreme Court decision.

“The court confirmed USAA’s approach to handling Katrina claims in Mississippi is correct,” Mr. Berry was quoted as stating. “Although other insurers may have taken different approaches, USAA has always paid for damage solely caused by wind. We are also pleased the court confirmed USAA’s position and decades of insurance law that damage caused by storm surge is not covered.”

The newspaper reported that Mr. Berry said USAA believes its policies cover wind damage when homes also are subjected to tidal surge.

I’m certain Admiral Lisanby will find that statement interesting as USAA attempted to cheat the Admiral and his wife out of their rightful coverage only to have their asses kicked in court. Perhaps Steve will stop in to share with us how long it took USAA to honor their promises to his elderly mother. Late religion is better than no religion as we continue:

The American Insurance Association also reacted positively to the news. AIA said the decision “confirms that the water damage exclusion and anti-concurrent causation clause–two key issues in Hurricane Katrina litigation–are valid provisions of the insurance contract and will continue to be important to insurers in adjusting wind versus water claims.”

James Whittle, AIA’s assistant general counsel, went on to say that “first, and most importantly, the Corban decision reaffirms the longstanding flood exclusion provision found in most homeowners’ insurance policies, that expressly excludes coverage for hurricane-driven water (or storm surge).”

He added that “the water damage or flood exclusion has now withstood every post-Katrina court challenge, and remains a part of regulator-approved insurance contracts throughout the country.”

He also said that “the court upheld the use of the ACC clause that was at issue before the court. With this ruling, the court has provided meaningful guidance to consumers and insurers. Nothing in this decision changes the important role that insurers play in recovery by adjusting claims according to their contracts with policyholders.”

We’ll be here to cover the continued reaction to Corban from the loser’s locker room.

sop

8 thoughts on “Da Corban spin continues: AIA prefers denial while the National Underwriter carries III press release calling it news”

  1. We all know this ploy, common to politicians and corporate mouthpieces alike – when you’ve just been kicked in the ass, downright dropped on your skull . . . the thing to do is jump up and proclaim how good it felt. It’s major league stupid but so are many of those who’ll buy it.

  2. Hartwig on market regulation. Well since we are the only industry outside of baseball that does not have to conform to the federal anti-trust laws I favor total state deregulation of the insurance industry. The fact that the fed’s are ordered not to keep records or even start an investigation into possible anti-trust violations if we can escape state regulations we are home free. The only industry without regulation is my dream. Than we can use our non regulated status to suck the blood out of each and every sucker business which conforms to anti-trust regulation. We will leave baseball alone out of respect for their ability to escape federal regulation. Our new motto at the III is all we ever wanted in life was to have an unfair advantage. Being the only non-regulated industry would be just such a situation.

  3. P&C Trades Group Opposes Ending Health Antitrust Immunity

    A group of property/casualty trade groups, including the RAA, came out swinging against proposed Congressional legislation that would end antitrust exemptions for healthcare insurers as long provided for under the McCarran-Ferguson Act. The group charges the proposed legislation, the Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act of 2009,” is an attempt to radically rewrite the antitrust laws for a certain segment of the insurance business,” and further, that the bills have “no consumer benefit while causing enormous marketplace disruption that might have the perverse effect of discouraging new market entrants.”

    http://www.reinsurance.org/files/public/2009_ci_registration.pdf

    http://www.reinsurance.org/files/public/HR3596JointInsuranceTradesLetter.pdf

  4. “The McCarran-Ferguson Act, approved by Congress in 1945, entrusts states with the authority and responsibility for the regulation of the business of insurance. The McCarran-Ferguson Act creates a limited exemption from federal antitrust laws to the extent that the business of insurance

  5. Steve – Where did the this quote re McCarran-Ferguson come from: “. . . to the extent that the business of insurance — not the business of insurance companies — is regulated by the states . . . .”

  6. Juriscribe I got it from this recent letter.

    American Insurance Association
    Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers
    The Financial Services Roundtable
    Independent Agents & Brokers of America
    National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies
    National Association of Professional Insurance Agents
    Physician Insurers Association of America
    Property Casualty Insurers Association of America
    Reinsurance Association of America
    October 7, 2009
    The Honorable John Conyers The Honorable Lamar Smith
    Chairman Ranking Member
    Committee on the Judiciary Committee on the Judiciary
    U.S. House of Representatives U.S. House of Representatives
    Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515
    Dear Mr. Chairman and Congressman Smith:
    The undersigned organizations represent all the segments of the property/casualty insurance
    industry, from primary insurers to agents, brokers, and reinsurers. We are writing to express our
    strong opposition to H.R. 3596 and S. 1681, identical bills introduced as the

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