Must-Read Katrina Coverage Analysis From Randy Maniloff

Randy Maniloff, who not only knows what he’s talking about, but also writes about coverage in a clear, catchy journalistic style, once again has penned an excellent article on Katrina coverage.  Click here for a link.   

Randy dissects the recent Leonard v. Nationwide decision as well as the parties’ trial briefing with a keen eye and comes up with some valuable insights, especially about the anti-concurrent cause language found in homeowners policies at issue in Katrina coverage litigation.  A key conclusion of Randy’s article:

Nationwide, and other insurers, have maintained that when damage is caused by a combination of wind and water, there is no need for [an allocation of damage between wind and water] since all of the damage is excluded from coverage.  Herein lies the win for homeowners in Mississippi, just not Paul and Julie Leonard.

He also has a valuable analysis of the little noticed Guice v. State Farm opinion by Judge Senter that had a lot to say anti-concurrent causation.  I can’t say enough about how impressive this analysis is: analyzing coverage decisions is not an easy task (heck, it’s not even easy to read most court decisions, much less decipher what is really going on), but being about to write about them in an understandable, entertaining style is a rare thing indeed.

Too often in legal writing, the writer’s style is so off-putting and dull that you need a tall glass of water just to choke down the substance.  The art of persuasion in writing calls for the writer to do the heavy lifting and organizing so that the written word takes the reader by the hand and guides him along to a conclusion that, when it arrives, seems pre-ordained.  This is a persuasive article. 

UPDATE: Originally I had mistyped the quoted material from the article as saying "not just" the Leonards, rather than "just not."  Good thing that’s the only mistake I’ve made so far this year. 

2 Comments

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2 Responses to Must-Read Katrina Coverage Analysis From Randy Maniloff

  1. I read Randy Maniloff’s piece, as you suggested, and wondered about the accuracy of Maniloff’s data referenced from the Insurance Information Institute. Do readers of this blog agree with the Insurance Information Institute’s estimates:
    . . . about 90% of homeowners in Louisiana and Mississippi who filed claims after Hurricane Katrina are satisfied with their insurers. The III also stated that that fewer than 2% of claims in Mississippi and Louisiana are in dispute. According to III data, insurers have settled 658,700 Louisiana homeowners claims (or 94.8% of expected claims), totaling $10.3 billion, and 334,800 Mississippi homeowners claims (94.3% of expected claims), totaling $5.2 billion.

  2. I don’t have any information to contradict those claims and I don’t have any trouble believing them. Almost all insurance issues are resolved through the claims process, relatively few involve coverage lawyers and still fewer, lawsuits. Because of the high profile of these coverage issues, it may seem like a higher percentage of claims are unresolved than is actually the case.