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Insurance industry wins key Katrina case [08/16/2006]

Insurance industry wins key Katrina case

COLUMBUS, Ohio (UPI) -- Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. hailed a U.S. judge's decision in Mississippi that a flood exclusion clause exempts it from covering Hurricane Katrina damage.

"We are very pleased that the court ... upheld the long-standing flood exclusion language which is foundational to traditional homeowner policies across the country," the Ohio company said Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. of Gulfport, who is set to handle hundreds of such cases, also found that Nationwide had not misrepresented the policy to the plaintiffs, Paul and Julie Leonard of Pascagoula, Miss.

The Leonards had not taken out a flood policy with Nationwide, the company said.

Insurers have paid about $17.6 billion in damages from the 2005 disaster to restore hundreds of thousands of Gulf of Mexico coastal residences. A loss in the Leonard case would have exposed the industry to billions more in obligations.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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