Brian Williams opened NBCs Nightly News October 10 report on insurance saying, Thousands who have lost so much in the wake of Katrina have found that when it came time to collect on what they thought was their rock solid insurance coverage, the insurance companies told them no. Williams failed to explain that the reason for this is federal flood insurance, available since 1968.
Reporter Mark Potter started off his piece with a disgruntled insurance customer from Waveland, Miss., named Mark Buchanan. Potter explained that Buchanans home might not be covered because he wasnt insured for flooding. But that wasnt enough for Potter who pointed out After all, he has a hurricane deductible.
The segment even showed Buchanan pointing to his hurricane deductible on a piece of paper claiming that meant he was covered for the storm. The story didnt bother to show Buchanans actual policy, though policies typically make it quite clear that they dont cover for flooding. Only the federal government does that.
That hasnt stopped Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, another of Potters interviews, who is suing the insurance companies. Hood called for the firms to Write the check and quit fussing with those people that have nothing but a slab left. Potter didnt explain that Hood and left-wing power lawyer Dickie Scruggs are both suing the insurance companies, trying to overturn actual written contracts. The story also didnt include what impact those suits would have on the Gulf area rebirth as companies flee an anti-business area.
At least Potter interviewed Bill Davis of the Hurricane Insurance Information Center, who explained People knew in this area, or should have reasonably known and been told that their standard homeowners policy did not cover storm surge or flooding. That was the only airtime given to someone not critical of insurance companies in the nearly two and a half minute long story.
The Nightly News story focused on the unwillingness of private insurance to payout for hurricane destruction. But as the Business & Media Institute reported , insurance companies make sure to advertise up front, almost ad nauseum, that homeowners insurance does not cover flooding. Brochures, fact sheets, and other materials presented to consumers all underscore the necessity of buying separate flood coverage.
Private insurance companies are already paying out more than $60 billion, and if Hood and others win the lawsuits, insurance companies will have to pay out at least $15 billion more, as reported earlier .