$61 Million Settlement Reached In Hurricane Lawsuits

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A state-run insurance company of last resort agreed Thursday to settle two remaining class-action lawsuits tied to claims handled after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The board for the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. voted unanimously to settle the long-running lawsuits for $61 million. Policyholders sued the company over the slow handling of claims after the hurricanes struck in 2005.

The board also authorized company CEO Richard Robertson to place caps of $4,500 per claim, $150,000 for court costs and $750,000 for administrative expenses.

The settlement comes after Citizens paid a $104 million judgment in July that will benefit more than 18,500 policyholders who sued over slow adjustment claims after the hurricanes. Thursday’s offer, which was voted on publicly after a 90-minute closed door session, is meant to cover plaintiffs who weren’t initially covered in July’s settlement.

Citizens CEO Richard Robertson has said one lawsuit involves 7,800 claimants and up to 12,000 in the other.

One of the last hurdles claimants faced was cleared in June when the U.S. Supreme Court decided they wouldn’t review rulings requiring Citizens to pay an estimated $110 million to the claimants. The company appealed to the nation’s highest court in April, alleging that the state agency was denied due process throughout the ongoing state court litigation.

Citizens was granted permission in May to secure a $75 million cash line of credit to cover hurricane damages in the state because board members expected the pending legal judgment to drain the company’s bank account. Citizens had set about $140 million aside to cover the settlement made in July.

Board members expect claims from Hurricane Isaac to cost the company between $50 million and $80 million. They also anticipate having to either issue additional bonds to raise money or declare a 2012 deficit and collect a regular assessment from the insurance industry to cover an estimated $141 million cash shortfall.

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  • 10. Hurricane Betsy (1965)

    Damage em(In millions, adjusted using 2010 U.S. Census Bureau Price Deflator for Construction)/em: $11,227
    brbr
    a href=”http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/nws-nhc-6.pdf” target=”_hplink”Source: NOAA/a

  • 9. Hurricane Agnes (1972)

    Damage em(In millions, adjusted using 2010 U.S. Census Bureau Price Deflator for Construction)/em: $11,760
    brbr
    a href=”http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/nws-nhc-6.pdf” target=”_hplink”Source: NOAA/a

  • 8. Hurricane Rita (2005)

    Damage em(In millions, adjusted using 2010 U.S. Census Bureau Price Deflator for Construction)/em: $11,797
    brbr
    a href=”http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/nws-nhc-6.pdf” target=”_hplink”Source: NOAA/a

  • 7. Hurricane Hugo (1989)

    Damage em(In millions, adjusted using 2010 U.S. Census Bureau Price Deflator for Construction)/em: $12,775
    brbr
    a href=”http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/nws-nhc-6.pdf” target=”_hplink”Source: NOAA/a

  • 6. Hurricane Charley (2004)

    Damage em(In millions, adjusted using 2010 U.S. Census Bureau Price Deflator for Construction)/em: $15,820
    brbr
    a href=”http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/nws-nhc-6.pdf” target=”_hplink”Source: NOAA/a

  • 5. Hurricane Ivan (2004)

    Damage em(In millions, adjusted using 2010 U.S. Census Bureau Price Deflator for Construction)/em: $19,832
    brbr
    a href=”http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/nws-nhc-6.pdf” target=”_hplink”Source: NOAA/a

  • 4. Hurricane Wilma (2005)

    Damage em(In millions, adjusted using 2010 U.S. Census Bureau Price Deflator for Construction)/em: $20,587
    brbr
    a href=”http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/nws-nhc-6.pdf” target=”_hplink”Source: NOAA/a

  • 3. Hurricane Ike (2008)

    Damage em(In millions, adjusted using 2010 U.S. Census Bureau Price Deflator for Construction)/em: $27,790
    brbr
    a href=”http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/nws-nhc-6.pdf” target=”_hplink”Source: NOAA/a

  • 2. Hurricane Andrew (1992)

    Damage em(In millions, adjusted using 2010 U.S. Census Bureau Price Deflator for Construction)/em: $45,561
    brbr
    a href=”http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/nws-nhc-6.pdf” target=”_hplink”Source: NOAA/a

  • 1. Hurricane Katrina (2005)

    Damage em(In millions, adjusted using 2010 U.S. Census Bureau Price Deflator for Construction)/em: $105,840
    brbr
    a href=”http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/nws-nhc-6.pdf” target=”_hplink”Source: NOAA/a

  • How Countries Deal with Hurricane Disasters

    In August 2005, hurricane Katrina hit the US Golf Coast killing 1,800 people and causing 80 billion dollars worth of damage. It was the biggest natural disaster in American history. The American government was criticized for its inadequate response. By contrast, Cuba lost ‘only’ 18 people in 9 tropical cyclones and hurricanes in the last ten years.