Hurricane Lawsuits Almost Settled

February 20, 2007

Reported by: Associated Press

Louisiana's state-run insurer is nearing a mass settlement with policyholders that would be the first deal of its kind in the state since the 2005 hurricanes spawned thousands of similar lawsuits, according to an attorney for the homeowners.

Attorney Jennifer Jones says Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, Louisiana's insurer of last resort, has agreed "in principle" to settle out of court with 165 policyholders in Cameron Parish. They sued Citizens for refusing to cover damage from Hurricane Rita in September 2005.

Jones, who would not specify the proposed terms of the proposed multimillion dollar agreement, said an agreement could be announced by the end of the week.

Citizens C.E.O.Terry Lisotta declined to comment, but said, "We're constantly trying to settle cases." Jones says she also is trying to negotiate a separate settlement with State Farm on behalf of about 150 policyholders in Cameron, but recent settlement offers by the company were "too low."

Jones says another meeting between Jones and State Farm attorneys is planned for March 2nd.