What Gulf Coast Congressman Gene Taylor wanted the Easter Bunny to bring him.
South Mississippi Living 4/07

Sunday, May 20, 2007

State Farm: Just Like a Bad Neighbor

State Farm: Just Like a Bad Neighbor

Walking along the Gulfport beach that first full day after the Bay Bridge had reopened, I came upon a pier that looked recently rebuilt. How lovely the noontime sun felt as its rays warmed the sand beneath my feet and the pier’s wooden slats. Sitting in one of the cut out places, I wondered what the water could share with me. What had it seen and heard? The stories drowned in time and space after nearly 21 months since Hurricane Katrina battered these shores.

Fishing with a huge net, a man up ahead was untangling a striped fish whose name I could not recall. So I asked him. "Sheep head," he replied. He threw it back into the water because it’s just too much work to clean. A Gulfport native, the gentleman in his late 40s, early 50s told me that before the storm, his house sat 10th from the beach. Today it’s 5th because folks aren’t able to rebuild—insurance companies aren’t paying.

It’s the story everyone is familiar with. Wind policies say the water did the damage. Hurricane policies say water did the damage. To date, the insurance companies have been able to get away with the shell game. And this gentleman—who requested his name be withheld—he didn’t get a dime either. Not from his wind or hurricane policies.

He said that Katrina took away everything he had. He smiled as he said that he was lucky, because he had money in retirement and savings that he chose to use to rebuild. In early March, he moved into his new home. He hadn’t wanted to use up his retirement in this way, but he was glad to have it. “Many people weren’t so lucky,” he said kindly.

Who was his carrier? State Farm. Yep, just like a bad neighbor, State Farm ain’t there.

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