Blogathon for Pearlington

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Insurance Companies

Ask anyone who got hit with Katrina’s storm surge who the big, bad wolf of the recovery effort is, and they will tell you the insurance companies. Over and over I’ve heard stories of families that got almost nothing from the insurance companies after their homes were totally destroyed. They are paying for roofs but not houses, and they are not even paying that much if the roof was smashed up when the house when tumbling off its foundation. A tree has to have fallen on or something that was clearly wind damage and wind damage alone. However they are justifying it, the insurance companies are just not paying up in the hardest hit areas.

Add to that insurance rates that are now skyrocketing.

And insurance companies that are bringing in their own “hired guns” as one commenter put it. According to this article they’ve commissioned a report that downplays the wind strength of Hurricane Katrina and gives them more ammunition to fight having to pay claims.

Give me a break. There was more wind damage than you’d expect from 115 mph winds 100 miles inland.

Then there is the anti-concurrent causation clause that insurance companies are using as yet another excuse not to pay.

Watch for lawsuits. Lots of lawsuits.

I realize the storm has been financially catastrophic for the companies as well. I also realize there is a certain risk people knowingly take on by choosing to live on the waterfront. But no one could have predicted what happened in Katrina. No one could have foreseen the force or the breadth of the storm surge. No could have guessed that Pearlington, several miles off the beach, would have been completely immersed in flood waters. It had just never happened before.

This refusal on the part of insurance companies to pay for houses damaged in the storm surge is just plain wrong. But it is what it is, and it leaves the rest of us even more responsible for helping our neighbors get back on their feet. Don’t forget when you consider what you might do to help that you and people like you really are the only hope many families have.


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