Mar

31

The New Orleans Katrina disaster was made worse for many victims by the ineptness of FEMA and premeditated 'foot dragging' in non-payments by insurer State F@rm. They intensifed the suffering. I know a couple personally who live in Petal, MS who had one heck of a time getting settled there with property damage and the same in Gulfport on a condo loss.  It seems to me today that insurance carriers want us to have the best policy known to man in place and pay top premiums, but don't ever turn in a claim for fear of being canceled for using that policy.

N.O. resident Gibbons Burke replies:

Other factors which 'intensified' the suffering after Katrina:

1) Drunk armed bands of looters and miscreants roaming the city shooting at one another, police, rescue workers and ambulance teams working to get boats in to evacuate patients from hospitals. The fact that 'mere anarchy' had been loosed upon that City delayed the response because would-be rescuers had to return to base to get flak jackets and ammunition. A friend who stayed for the storm said it was "like Mardi Gras with guns" - a big party scene. Another had to use lethal force against looters in our neighborhood, and came under fire while in an air boat on the way to rescue an infant from a flooded house in a neighborhood near ours. He turned two would-be looters into a rescue squad and got over 40 people stranded in flooded homes to evacuation points, including our 92-year old neighbor.

2) An indecisive governor Blanco who would not give the President specific authorization to go in with the military to help out. She was playing politics and not wanting to cede control of her state to the Feds.

3) A mayor of the City of New Orleans who was holed up in a Hyatt Hotel room overlooking the Superdome, afraid for his life to go down and provide leadership to his people. Contrast this with Mayor Schiro who was on the scene and very present during and after Hurricane Betsy in 1963.

4) A large proportion of the population displaced by flooding did not own their residence. They suffered no real estate loss, and so there was no basis to recompense them, other than providing housing allowances to stay in hotels and then finally trailers for the next couple of years.

5) A state with a reputation for corrupt practices meant that (in contrast to Mississippi) they had to do handstands (and had to hire an external contractor to handle the distribution of funds at $250mil. to get federal relief money. Contrast this with a functional state government in Mississippi where the federal relief money was obtained and distributed relatively quickly.

My personal experience with State Furm was they dealt with me quite well - fronted me a couple of grand cash two days after the storm; another neighbor down the street also was treated well by State F@rm. The one insurer whose name was consistently mentioned as being difficult to deal with was Allsgre@t.


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