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Mike Simon
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Court to Hear Katrina Insurance Appeal

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The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments on whether Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. should be forced to cover storm surge damage to the home of Paul and Julie Leonard resulting from Hurricane Katrina. Oral arguments will be heard on August 6th.

U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. ruled in 2006 that the Leonards could not collect damages from a Katrina storm surge because wind-driven water damage is not included in Nationwide‘s coverage. Nationwide has appealed the ruling because Senter also ruled that the Leonards could be compensated for damage that they can prove was caused by high winds.

If the ruling is not overturned, a precedent could be set, through which hundreds of other court challenges to the insurance industry for denying billions of dollars in claims after the hurricane could prevail.