Hurricane Katrina Insurance Coverage and the Insurance Industry

I tend to be a fan of facts, and of hard numbers, as they frequently paint a picture different than the one that would otherwise appear. This is no less true for the subject matter of this blog than for other subjects. Lawsuits and litigation, and the discussions about them, often focus on the spectacular or the rare. Insurance coverage is no different, as it is really the rare case that turns into a courtroom drama, a point I hinted at here, when I noted how relatively few coverage determinations are actually challenged in court and overturned. There has been much discussion in recent weeks about the Hurricane Katrina coverage litigation taking place in Mississippi, and in particular the hundreds of lawsuits still pending in the federal courts there. Yet in contrast, as this article reminds us, the vast majority of claims arising out of Hurricane Katrina have been settled amicably, with insurers paying out multiple billions of dollars in claims in Louisiana and Mississippi, and insureds reporting a high level of satisfaction with their insurers' responses to the claims. The Insurance Information Institute reports that a year after the storm, approximately 95% of the Hurricane Katrina related claims in those two states have been resolved. Now, of course, the caveat is that we all know the old saying, that there are three kinds of lies - lies, dang lies and statistics - and thus we would need to see the underlying data - in particular the survey questions - to know how much credence to give this report, but I suspect the results being reported here bear a pretty good resemblance to reality.