I made the call repeatedly over the last week: you can’t double-dip on multiple indemnity insurance policies. The purpose of indemnity insurance is to make you whole, to restore the value of what is insured, not function as a profit-making enterprise. So it’s no surprise to me that, in this story by Mike Kunzelman of the Associated Press on the Weiss v. Allstate case in Louisiana, the judge will instruct the jury to take into account that the policyholders have already received $350,000 in flood insurance money:
"That money cannot be recovered again in this case and I will instruct the jury to that effect," U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance said in response to a request from Allstate.
Vance made the announcement from the bench while the jury was out of the courtroom and after lawyers for homeowners Robert and Merryl Weiss of Slidell rested their case against Allstate.
Sometimes you have to be there to really figure out the context of a statement, but this position by the plaintiffs’ lawyer didn’t leap off the page at me as making a whole lot of sense:
"We’re not trying to get double recovery by any means," the Weisses’ lawyer, Richard Trahant said after Vance’s announcement. But he added that Allstate shouldn’t get credit for money supplied by federal government through the flood insurance program.
Hold on a minute. If Allstate doesn’t get an offset for the money paid by another source, that is the definition of double-dipping — drawing on multiple indemnity sources for the same risk.
The story says the trial continues today.