Nationwide settles 10 Katrina lawsuits

Published 4:36 pm Thursday, July 19, 2007

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. has settled 10 lawsuits filed by homeowners in a dispute over damage from Hurricane Katrina.

The settlement was announced Monday by Biloxi attorney Jack Denton. Two weeks ago, Denton and attorney William C. Walker Jr. settled 18 cases with State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. The Scruggs Katrina Group has announced settlements of 1,200 lawsuits filed against State Farm, Allstate Insurance Co., and Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Co.

Terms of all the settlements are confidential.

“There’s no question that there’s been a shift in Nationwide and State Farm’s position regarding the payment of claims,” Denton said.

State Farm and Nationwide spokesmen have said their companies have always tried to resolve claims as quickly and fairly as possible.

Thousands of coast policyholders who lived near the shoreline have sued insurance companies. Many maintained the companies should have covered their losses caused by storm surge and wind during the Aug. 29, 2005 storm.

Some insurers have denied claims where Katrina swept away property, leaving only slabs, on grounds their policies covered wind damage but not destruction from a combination of those elements.

In January, U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. ruled State Farm failed to prove that Katrina’s storm surge was responsible for all the damage to a Gulf Coast couple’s home. The case is on appeal to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.