Lawsuit Filed in La. Against Insurers, Commissioner Over Katrina Damages
The Insurance Journal
September 16, 2005
Plaintiff attorneys with the McKernan Law Firm - Jerry McKernan, Joe Bruno, Calvin Fayard and Vernon Thomas - reported that they have filed a suit seeking a speedy, favorable resolution that all property and homeowners in the Greater Orleans, La., area shall have the right to recover insurance proceeds from the home owners insurance company as a result of high water.
The lawsuit names as defendants Louisiana Insurance Commissioner J. Robert Wooley, State Farm Fire And Casualty Company, Allstate Insurance Company, Allstate Indemnity Company, Louisiana Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company, The Standard Fire Insurance Company, Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company, Farmers Insurance Exchange, Anpac Louisiana Insurance Company, Louisiana Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company, Lafayette Insurance Company, Audubon Insurance Company, Firemans Fund Insurance Company of Louisiana, Clarendon National Insurance Company, Chubb Custom Insurance Company, and National Union Fire Insurance Company ff Louisiana.
The law firm said the suit will ask a Judge of the 19th Judicial District Court to rule that the high water in Orleans and Jefferson Parish, which flooded thousands of homes, is caused by a man made neglect and wind damage rather than so called "Act of God" through rising water.
The attorneys said they believe that the various insurance companies, who insure the residents of Greater Orleans area, will deny coverage to their insureds on the basis that the damages were caused by an Act of God through rising water. They also believe that the underlying cause for the high water was result of several breeches in the levees. Further, they believe, based on information that they have received, that water did not come over the levy but flooded the areas in question only after the breeches occurred.
It is their option that because the dominant act causing the breech led to flooding of the area, that the various insurance companies will be responsible under their policies. A 19th Judicial District Judge will be asked to rule expeditiously on the matter and declare that the various insurance policies do provide coverage in this case.
The lawsuit will also ask for an expedited consideration of the issues involved as well as the certification of a class of people who were affected by the floods in order to protect the interests of all of these citizens.
If the insurance companies are successful in denying coverage to the residents, it is estimated that it will cost the property owners approximately $20 billion of their own money to rebuild their businesses and homes.
The attorneys said they hope that this matter can be resolved hopefully by the first of the year so people can start collecting money to rebuild their future.