They call themselves the "Sling Shots". They're a group of about 100 Hancock County slab owners who have banded together to share information and offer one another support. All of them are caught in insurance disputes with State Farm. Now as State Farm prepares to re-evaluate slab claims two Sling Shot members talk about their hopes for a fair deal.
"It's traumatic every time we come back out here," said Mike and Barbara Perronne as they walked on the property where their house once stood. The couple said the house took more than a year to build and they did much of the work themselves. After Katrina took the house, the Perronnes say they got money from flood insurance that allowed them to pay off their mortgage. However, for nearly two years now the Perronne say they have waited to collect the more than $500,000 they had in homeowner's insurance.
Mike Perronne said "For wind we got nothing".
After the first State Farm denial.. the Perronnes tried again to reach a settlement.
"We tried going through mediation," said Mike Perronne. "We went up to Hattiesburg for mediation and at the mediation, they offered us pennies on the dollar."
Now the couple is skeptical about a re-evaluation process they believed is fueled by politics.. And the decision in Norman and Genevieve Broussard slab case.
"Since State Farm couldn't prove how much was wind and how much was water and that was the liability they had then they had to pay them full policy value," he said. "I think what this did was give them a chance to come back and look at the properties a little bit to try and come up with some kind of determination. Do I have high hopes for it? No. The dealings we've had with State Farm so far have been bad I've lost faith in them. "
The Perronnes say this is State Farm's last shot before them in court.
Mike Perronne said "I really don't feel like we're going to get much in this reevaluation. It's my feeling and I think the majority of the people in our group that if we have to sue and go to litigation, they can drag it on for years. I may never get any money but I'm not giving it up. I don't care if my grandkids get the money. There's no way I'm going to let State Farm walk away and not pay us anything because that's not fair."
We have some reaction to the dismissal of the State Farm case that was the basis for that mass settlement deal.
Attorney Zach Scruggs said today the Scruggs Katrina Group will file individual lawsuits against State Farm for about 30 clients it represents.
State Farm released a statement about the Monday's case dismissal saying the resolution process is now underway with the Mississippi Insurance Department and the company is committing a minimum of 50 million dollars to the process.