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Insurance Companies Sued for Not Paying Katrina Claims

by Kevin Caruso

October 5, 2005

Paul Leonard, a Pascagoula, Mississippi, police lieutenant, and his wife Julie, have filed a lawsuit against the Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company for failing to provide adequate homeowner's coverage and for intentionally misleading them about their coverage.

The Leonards purchased $154,300 in coverage for their home from Nationwide Insurance in 2004, and the policy purportedly included coverage for damage caused by hurricanes.

But when they filed their claim after the storm surge from Hurricane Katrina damaged their house, they received a denial letter, even though no one from Nationwide Insurance inspected the house.

Nationwide Insurance contends that the policy did not include coverage for a Hurricane storm surge, but the Leonards were never informed of that fact. Additionally, the Leonards were not advised by their agent to purchase federal flood insurance.

The treatment that the Leonards are receiving is, sadly, typical. The insurance companies are not concerned about their clients; they are concerned about their bottom line: money. And their unethical behavior is nothing short of appalling.

Hurricane Katrina survivors have had to cope with one disaster after the other: the hurricane, the storm surge, the flood, the inept response by our government, loss of life, loss of property, and, now, unethical insurance companies.

There will be many more lawsuits; and we hope and pray that the survivors prevail.


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