Tag Archives: New Orleans

New Orleans residents who had insurance policies that excluded water damage lose in court

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Saw this on the net today:

ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW ORLEANS — Hurricane Katrina victims whose homes and businesses were destroyed when floodwaters breached levees in the 2005 storm cannot recover money from their insurance companies for the damages, a federal appeals court ruled today.

“This event was excluded from coverage under the plaintiffs’ insurance policies, and under Louisiana law, we are bound to enforce the unambiguous terms of their insurance contracts as written,” Judge Carolyn King wrote for a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

As a result, the panel found those who filed the suit “are not entitled to recover under their policies,” she said.

More than a dozen insurance companies, including Allstate and Travelers, were defendants.

The decision overturns a ruling by U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr., who in November sided with policyholders arguing that language excluding water damage from some of their insurance policies was ambiguous.

Duval said the policies did not distinguish between floods caused by an act of God — such as excessive rainfall — and floods caused by an act of man, which would include the levee breaches following Katrina’s landfall.

But the appeals panel concluded that “even if the plaintiffs can prove that the levees were negligently designed, constructed, or maintained and that the breaches were due to this negligence, the flood exclusions in the plaintiffs’ policies unambiguously preclude their recovery.”

Court rules against Katrina victims in flood insurance case

Who in their right mind would NOT buy insurance that covers flood damage if you live in a flood prone area like the bowl we call New Orleans?

No one would.

Then again, if you live in a flood prone area – you can’t get regular insurance coverage for water damage. You must buy flood insurance from the federal government.

My guess is average people don’t know that and I also guess that some of that info may have been withheld so the broker could make a sale on the policy. It wouldn’t be the first time.

The God Game: Who’s side is God on?

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During times of national stress the prayer birds come out of the wood work. Not only religious leaders, but political leaders, and media talking heads ask people to pray or offer prayers.

On Tuesday I read where Kathleen Blanco, governor of Louisiana, called on people to pray for the victims of Hurricane Katrina that slammed into the states of Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi on Monday August 29th. President Bush said he and First Lady Laura Bush were praying for them as well.

By Thursday all hell had broke loose in New Orleans as victims snapped under the strain of going 4 days without much food and drinking water. But hey, we are praying for you.

I kept thinking “Get off your asses and get help into the city. Stop wasting time praying!”

Some religious right nut jobs even suggest that the hurricane was God’s way of punishing “us” for “our” sins.

Pat Robertson, one of the nut jobs, said once back in 1998:

“I would warn Orlando that you’re right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don’t think I’d be waving those flags in God’s face if I were you.”

He said it in response to Orlando hosting a Gay Pride Festival and Disney World having a Gay Day.

But attributing a natural storm to the will of a “God” is not a rational way to explain coincidences. In Robertson’s case, no hurricanes went through or near Orlando. So does that mean God was ok with the Gay Pride Festival?

If you want to play the “God” game one could also draw a conclusion that God hates Republicans.

Katrina slammed into Alabama, home to Judge Roy Moore who ignored a federal court ruling forcing him to remove a 10 Commandments monument from the Alabama Supreme Court building.

The storm leveled coastal towns in Mississippi, whose Governor is Haley Barbour, formerly the national chairman of the Republican Party. The state is also home to Senator Trent Lott who use to be Senate Majority Leader before his mouth forced him to step down from that job.

Katrina previously had hit Florida, whose Governor is President Bush’s brother Jeb and is thought to have helped his brother “steal” the 2000 election for the President. In fact God must really hate Jeb because Katrina is the 5th hurricane to hit Florida in two years.

A religious conservative writer pointed out that Katrina hit New Orleans just before it was due to host the Southern Decadence festival which was described as “a six-day public homosexual orgy.” But Katrina didn’t hit New Orleans. The rule of the God game is that it has to hit the object God hates and Katrina turned to the right before making land fall, missing the city with a direct hit. It turned to the right and hit Mississippi directly.

Why doesn’t God send hurricanes to hit bigger places of sin like Las Vegas, New York, or Hollywood?

I guess he thinks those places and people are ok, but he must really hate the Bible belt and Republicans.

I think I like the God game.

Correction:

In my last post I mentioned how FEMA was changed after the mess of the Hurricane Andrew relief effort in 1992. Like everyone else I expected to see massive efforts on the ground to help those who were vicitms of Hurricane Katrina.

I guess I spoke to soon and assumed too much. It is Friday, 4 days since the hurricane blew through and FEMA and the Federal Govt. is JUST NOW getting the machine going. I am shocked and disgusted with the foot dragging. The effort so far is a disgrace for the US.

What one thing can make President Bush break his month long vacation?

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What one thing can make President Bush break his month long vacation?

No, it isn’t to give yet another speech in support of his failed Iraq policy – although he has done that a couple of times this month.

What forced Bush to go back to DC before Labor Day was Hurricane Katrina that devastated Louisiana and Mississippi with a brutal punch of wind and water.

One way people judge our political leaders is how they respond to natural disasters. A perceived slip up can hurt you at the next ballot box if it is close enough. Some pointed to the mess that was the response to Hurricane Andrew in 1992 for President Bush Sr. losing to President Clinton in the Florida region.

The problems with that response led to changes in how the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) operated and interacted with local authorities and agencies. Before Andrew, FEMA had to wait for a disaster declaration before they could even gather their crew together. The wait back in 1992 was more than a week. Tensions flared and several riots broke out over what supplies were available.

In contrast, for Katrina, FEMA gathered their crew and supplies together in the days leading up to the storm’s land fall on Monday so they could get right to work. Also, unlike after Andrew, the Federal Government didn’t have to wait for an invite before they sent in military supplies and assets like food and tents.

So if any political leader is seen as not working to help people, they will get bad marks from the people. Bush Jr.’s already low poll numbers don’t need more negative feedback.

I watched the wall to wall coverage of the storm on Sunday night and Monday morning and one political leader put her foot firmly in her mouth as the hurricane was moving past New Orleans.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana, was asked her thoughts, on CNN, on the report that part of the roof of the Superdome had ripped off in the wind. Thousands of residents and stranded tourists were using the dome as their “refuge of last resort”. She talked about all the people who “ignored the evacuation order” and stayed in the city and that “Authorities cannot fix the problem in the middle of the storm.”

Setting aside the fact that a US Senator is not a storm expert and was just used because CNN had time to fill and she was there, but the tone of her comments came across as if the people in Superdome had planned to be there.

What was ignored was than a majority were there because they had no means to leave even if they wanted to. They didn’t ignore the evacuation order, they couldn’t comply.

In times of natural disasters those with the least to lose, lose the most. During the coverage tonight on CNN it appears that news is getting out as the disaster is finally being seen for the monster that it is. Even Landrieu has changed her tune.

“What I saw today is equivalent to what I saw flying over the tsunami in Indonesia. There are places that are no longer there,” she said.