Well, after telling State Farm and other insurers that a contract isn’t a contract in Mississippi, Attorney General Jim Hood apparently now would like to tell them it’s against the law for them not to do business in the state.
Mr. Hood’s latest action comes after State Farm announced it would no longer write homeowners and small business insurance in Mississippi following the company’s ongoing legal battles over Hurricane Katrina claims. State Farm–like other insurers–has said its homeowners insurance contract language did not cover damage from flood waters, while Mr. Hood has insisted that insurers are liable for hurricane-related damages regardless of the cause.
Today Mr. Hood said he would seek legislation that would force State Farm to continue writing homeowners business in Mississippi if the insurer chooses to write auto policies there. State Farm, meanwhile, said the attorney general’s most recent actions only underscore the difficulty in doing insurance business in Mississippi.
Last month, at the annual Property/Casualty Insurance Joint Industry Forum in New York, George Dale, Mississippi’s commissioner of insurance, said that since Katrina his twin goals have been getting policyholders’ claims settled and making sure there’s an ongoing insurance industry in Mississippi after those settlements are reached. He added, though, that some “well intentioned” politicians in his state don’t seem to understand that second goal.
I wonder if he was thinking of anyone in particular.