On Wednesday, December 17, a federal judge dismissed a very important antitrust case dealing with Louisiana insurers for lack of evidence. Former Attorney General Charles Foti, on the behalf of New Orleans citizens and various attorneys throughout New Orleans, filed a lawsuit in November of 2007 alleging that antitrust laws were being broken by insurance companies in the Gulf Coast area. The case, heavily reliant on the events that took place after Hurricane Katrina, alleged that insurance agencies were working together to underpay claims to those who had suffered damage and made hurricane insurance claims. (Read more about the case here)
Central to the suit was an allegation that a particular claims-adjustment software was being used by companies named in the suit and that this software, with minor adjustments, worked to increase the company profits while, at the same time, limiting the financial compensation to be awarded to claimants. Though the case’s dismissal likely ends the issue, it is important to understand the principles involved in why it was brought against the various insurance agencies and what may be gleaned from the ruling.
First, the fact that any dominant software format is being used by various companies to figure out compensation should be a red flag for anyone who may be making a claim in the Gulf Coast area. As each claim is different, it is important for claimants to make sure that they receive the individualized and full attention from their insurance company on their damage report. Second, vigilance on the part of professionals and everyday property owners is essential to keep insurance agencies honest in their business practices. Finally, should a claim payout under compensate a property owner, supplemental payouts from the insurance company are possible should the amount be insufficient to make the necessary repairs.
If you feel that your claim has been denied unfairly or that your payout was insufficient for the repairs necessary to return your home to its pre-storm condition, proper legal representation is essential.
Call the Berniard Law Firm at (504) 527-6225 or Toll-Free at 1-866-574-8005 and speak with an attorney that will be ready and able to be in your corner and help you receive the payment you deserve.