Hurricane Katrina Insurance Claims

Readers of this prior post know that I had some questions as to whether the Maryland legislature engaged in the necessary amount of due diligence before enacting the Fair Share Act. There is certainly much to be said, though, for the very fact of state legislatures attempting to resolve difficult problems, such as the availability of health benefits.

McGlinchey Stafford, through its Hurricane Law Blog, provides another fine example of a state legislature trying to solve a difficult problem, one that is particularly interesting for those of us with an interest in the insurance industry and its role in the recovery of states affected by Hurricane Katrina. While much media coverage has centered in recent weeks on the Hurricane Katrina coverage litigation that has been ongoing in federal court in Mississippi, and which is now primed for a ruling by the court (thanks to David Rossmiller for the link), the Louisiana state legislature has continued with legislative activities directed at an orderly clean up and recovery, this time by extending the time for affected policyholders to file property damage claims. Recognizing that the dispersion of residents after the flooding may have made it difficult for residents to assess their losses and timely file insurance claims, the state legislature "extended the period within which Hurricane Katrina insurance claims must be filed by one year -- until August 30, 2007." The legislature also instructed the state to promptly file a declaratory judgment action to establish the constitutionality of this change. The complaint ("petition" in Louisiana legal lingo) is interesting reading, both for its description of the new change in the law and of the need for it. A hearing on the petition is set for August 21.