Katrina-Related Decisions; 2006 Saw Lowest Catastrophe Payouts In Decade

Technically, I’ve been on vacation since December 16, and I actually managed to stop doing work by about noon on December 23.  I’m also on a reduced blogging routine, but I intend to stick to my usual schedule of posting daily, except for weekends and major holidays. Sometime this summer, a friend sent me a Wall Street Journal story about bloggers who go on vacation, and whether they choose to continue blogging while on holiday, ask a guest blogger to step in, or let the blog lie fallow. 

I’ve not really considered getting a guest blogger, mostly because I’d be reluctant to ask anyone to spend the time it takes to do this blog.  I haven’t really considered not posting during certain stretches, either.  This blog is almost a year old come January, and maybe I’ll change my mind as the blog ages, but I feel an obligation to the people who’ve been reading a long time, many of whom read every day.  This summer, I even got up at some unholy hour to hunt down a dial-up connection in the middle of Yellowstone — not an easy thing to do, I found — fight off other tourists and blog for an hour or so.  You can, of course, write stuff in advance and program your blog to post it on a given day, but I do this seldomly, because there are only a certain number of hours in a day, and writing three posts in a day is usually more than I have time for.

With this being said, today I’m doing what they do in your local newspaper over the holidays when they don’t have any one crime or traffic accident that stands out, or they don’t have enough staff or time to cover them as major stories — writing a "roundup": 

— Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood’s lawsuit against various insurance companies about their claims handling practices regarding Hurricane Katrina damage has been transferred from federal court back to state court by Judge L.T. Senter, Jr.  

Here is an interesting decision by Judge Senter from earlier this month in the Katrina litigation, in which he found that an "other insurance" provision in a Lloyds policy did not apply to the policyholder’s flood insurance.  The other insurance clause spoke of "insurance covering the same loss or damage," and Senter said the flood insurance did not cover the same loss, because the Lloyds policy excluded flood damage.  The case is SIMA/Signature Lake v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyds London.

Here’s a decent little story about how State Farm has expanded its public relations staff to deal with the Katrina publicity. 

Good story from the Daily Telegraph (UK): fewer storms and natural disasters made 2006 the lowest year in a decade for catastrophe payouts from property and casualty insurers, and the third lowest in the last 20 years.  It also includes this paragraph, which is a point I’ve often made:

US property insurance rates are particularly expensive to reflect property prices. Infrastructure in areas such as California and Florida is highly developed and more likely to be insured and it will cost more to repair any damage.

That’s it for today. 


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