Nationwide To Re-Examine Katrina Slab Claims

Commissioner of Insurance George Dale announced today that The Nationwide Insurance Companies have agreed to voluntarily reevaluate Hurricane Katrina slab cases, which is consistent with Nationwide's ongoing practice of reviewing claims.

This should result in additional wind-related payments on a significant number of Katrina claims along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi.  This new plan should make additional payments to a number of policyholders in Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson counties.

"We believe this step, just like other actions our office has recently announced, should bring more money to the hands of those who suffered so greatly as a result of Katrina.  This is just another step in the road to recovery for Mississippi," said Commissioner Dale.

The Mississippi Insurance Department has been working with Nationwide over several months in an effort to ensure that as much money as possible is placed in the hands of the victims of Katrina.

Nationwide's homeowner and commercial policies did not provide coverage for flooding.  Where the cause of damage could not be distinguished between wind and flood, no payment was offered.

However, several months ago Nationwide began a re-review of all claims to make sure that damage potentially caused by wind would be paid. If the insured does not accept any new offer, he/she is still free to pursue mediation, the Mississippi Insurance Department's new non-binding arbitration program or litigation.

Under this new plan, Nationwide has reevaluated thousands of the most difficult to adjust Katrina claims. As a result of these reevaluations, Nationwide will be sending letters to hundreds of Mississippi policyholders to inform them they may be eligible for additional payments due to the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.

"This unique program offered by Nationwide is an attempt to resolve some of the remaining claims, which in most instances are slab claims and the most difficult to adjust," said Commissioner Dale.

As of Thursday, April 19, Nationwide has paid out $270 Million in Mississippi due to Hurricane Katrina. This plan is just another effort to resolve remaining insurance disputes, and we are hopeful that it will result in a positive outcome for those Mississippians who suffered damage caused by Katrina.