- The Washington Times - Friday, April 27, 2007

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Sen. Trent Lott has agreed to settle the lawsuit he filed against State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. for refusing to cover Hurricane Katrina’s damage to his Gulf Coast home, an attorney for the Mississippi Republican said yesterday.

The terms of Mr. Lott’s settlement with State Farm were not disclosed. Zach Scruggs, one of the senator’s attorneys, said he expects the deal to be completed early next week.

State Farm agreed in January to pay about $80 million to as many as 640 policyholders, including Mr. Lott, who sued the Bloomington, Ill., insurer. Most of those policyholders accepted the settlement and received their money, but Mr. Lott was among a handful of plaintiffs who balked.

Mr. Lott, whose case was set to be tried in a federal court in September, said last month that he was weighing a settlement offer from the company.

Efforts to reach a spokesman for Mr. Lott weren’t immediately successful yesterday.

“We are pleased to have reached a tentative agreement to settle Senator Lott’s claim and to have avoided litigation that might have been lengthier and more expensive for both parties,” State Farm spokesman Fraser Engerman said.

Mr. Lott was among hundreds of Gulf Coast policyholders who sued their insurer in the aftermath of the Aug. 29, 2005, storm. State Farm and other companies have refused to pay for damage from Katrina’s storm surge, which they say is excluded from their homeowner policies.

Mr. Engerman said State Farm has resolved 99 percent of all Katrina-related claims filed by policyholders.

“What remains are those few cases where wind versus water issues are still in contention,” he added.

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