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Authors: Barrasso, Judy Y.
Beckman, Kristin L.
Keywords: hurricane Katrina
insurance litigation
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
Citation: 62 Loy. L. Rev. 47
Abstract: In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, insurers faced unprecedented challenges in resolving over one million insurance claims filed by Gulf Coast residents in a timely manner. Many of these claims made their way to Louisiana’s state and federal courts, presenting new issues related both to coverage for wind- and flood-related damage caused by catastrophic storms, as well as insurers’ obligations to their insureds under Louisiana’s “bad faith” insurance statutes. The storms’ devastation was felt in the legislature as well. The legislature recognized it was imperative that insurers quickly resolve claims so affected residents could rebuild their lives, but also acknowledged the immense challenges insurance companies faced as they tried to resolve claims in a region lacking even the most basic infrastructure. Mindful of the need to strike a balance between these competing concerns, the legislature revised the requirements and penalties for bad faith insurance claims in Louisiana. This Article examines the ways in which the post- hurricane litigation and legislative actions have transformed the landscape of Louisiana insurance law. Section I addresses how the wave of post-hurricane insurance litigation significantly affected the development of certain coverage issues in the Louisiana courts. In particular, Katrina’s extensive wind and water damage which destroyed hundreds of homes forced Louisiana courts to examine and resolve two critical coverage issues: (1) application of Louisiana’s valued policy law to total loss claims under homeowner’s policies and (2) enforceability of insurance policies’ anti-concurrent cause provisions. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana courts had not addressed either of these issues, leaving insurers and policyholders uncertain as to how coverage would be resolved under homeowners’ policies for damages caused by a combination of both wind, a covered peril, and water, an excluded peril. The post-Katrina jurisprudence supplied new answers to these questions. Section II considers changes affecting insurers’ statutory obligations to their insureds under Louisiana’s bad faith statutes. This includes both legislative amendments to the statute(s) and the courts’ interpretations.
ISSN: 0192-9720
Appears in Collections:Law Review

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