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Thursday, October 12, 2006

State Farm asks court to move Katrina insurance lawsuits to avoid bias
Holly Manges Jones at 7:12 AM ET

[JURIST] State Farm Insurance [corporate website] on Wednesday filed a motion seeking a change in venue for lawsuits filed in southern Mississippi by individuals who claim insurance carriers failed to pay insured losses to those affected by the destruction of Hurricane Katrina [JURIST news archive]. The damages requested in the lawsuits [JURIST report] total about $20 billion and State Farm is petitioning the court to remove the cases to northern Mississippi where the opinion of insurance companies is more favorable. State Farm included survey results with its motion, which show that 49 percent of people in southern Mississippi believe that insurance executives are on the same level as child molesters. Additionally, the survey revealed that 88 percent of homes were damaged in southern Mississippi while just 12 percent of northern Mississippi homes were harmed. State Farm is the largest provider of homeowners' insurance in the state.

In the first Katrina-related Insurance lawsuit to go to trial, a federal judge in Mississippi ruled that Nationwide Insurance was not obligated to cover a policyholder's claims [JURIST report] for water damage caused by the hurricane. Reuters has more.

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