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Hurricane Insurance Coverage

San Antonio, TX: (Oct-01-07) Kevin and Sherrye Webster brought a lawsuit against San Antonio-based USAA Casualty Insurance Co., alleging that the company did not cover their property damage claim after Hurricane Katrina. The couple is among thousands of Mississippi and Louisiana property owners who have sued their insurers after Katrina wiped out large swaths of the Gulf Coast in August 2005. USAA had argued that nearly all of the damage to the couple's two-story home was caused by Katrina's flood waters and wasn't covered by the Websters' policy. USAA and other insurers say their homeowner policies cover damage from a hurricane's wind but not its rising water, including surge. The Websters didn't have a separate flood insurance policy. The insurer claimed that most of the damage to the couple's house on Katrina's storm surge, but the couple argues that wind caused the house to collapse before surge reached it.

In a recent development, a jury decided that the damage had been caused by the storm's wind and should have been covered by the couple's policy. The Websters' policy had limits of $811,000 for the house, $81,000 for a barn on their property, $162,200 for living expenses and $760,480 for the home's contents. USAA paid them $10,944 for wind damage to the house and $42,929 for the barn. Sources stated that the recent verdict means USAA will owe the Websters at least $800,000. Though terms of the settlement were not disclosed, legal counsel for the Websters said that it was a satisfying sum. [MY SAN ANTONIO: HURRICANE COVERAGE]

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Published on Oct-3-07


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