Disappointed But Happy

“While I am disappointed that larger refunds were not ordered, I am very happy that the Commissioner concurred with our position that refunds were due though August 2008 instead of June 2006 as argued by his staff.”

—Public Counsel Deeia Beck of the Texas Office of Public Insurance Counsel, commenting on the order issued by Texas Insurance Commissioner Mike Geeslin ordering State Farm Lloyds to refund $310 million, including interest, to its Texas homeowners policyholders for alleged overcharges between 2003 and 2008. Beck said the OPIC’s success in extending the refund date increased the total refund amount by $110 million dollars. State Farm has since appealed the order.

Severely Neglected Infrastructure

“The finding that the Corps of Engineers was ‘grossly negligent’ in its operation and maintenance of a federal navigable waterway has serious implications for all of coastal Louisiana, and the entire country. This nation has severely neglected its responsibilities when it comes to investing in critical infrastructure and it is costing us lives and billions of unnecessary dollars.”

—U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., commenting on the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Standwood Duval that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were liable for damages caused by flooding associated with the failed operation and maintenance of the navigation canal called the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet (MRGO). Plaintiffs in the case were awarded less than $750,000. The judge’s decision only applies to the areas flooded by the MRGO, which is limited to New Orleans East and St. Bernard Parish, but an estimated 80,000 claims could result in hundreds of millions in damages owed by the federal government, according to a statement released by Sen. Landrieu’s office.

A Strong Association

“We now can show a strong association between homes with the problem drywall and the levels of hydrogen sulfide in those homes and corrosion of metals in those homes.”

—U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says a recent study reveals a strong link between drywall made in China and the home corrosion reported by thousands of U.S. property owners whose homes used the drywall. The results are from an indoor air study of 51 homes and come just weeks after the CPSC stopped short of linking the air quality and corrosion complaints with the Chinese-made building material and promised further study. The CPSC has received more than 2,000 reports from consumers and homeowners concerned about problem drywall in their homes.