As a result of Hurricane Katrina, the Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association sustained losses well in excess of its reinsurance. The Association assessed its members to cover the loss based on their percentages of wind and hail insurance premiums written in the previous calendar year. Several companies then complained that the Association had incorrectly reported the previous year’s figures and were given a one-time opportunity to submit correct data (a true-up). Some members, most of whom did not submit corrected data, appealed the assessment following the true-up. The Mississippi Supreme Court reviewed the lower court’s grant of relief to the members. The Court affirmed the lower court’s decision on two issues: finding that grouping was permitted and that reinsurance was allocated properly. The Court, however, reversed and remanded on the following issues: whether MWUA had authority to set and enforce a true-up deadline, the mandatory nature of voluntary credits and farm-property exclusions, whether assessments are akin to privilege taxes, and the mobile-home reporting issue. Further, because the lower court lacked authority to order the Association to adopt new rules, the Court reversed and rendered that part of the judgment below. Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Assoc. v. Union Nat’l Fire Ins. Co., No 10-00076 (Miss. Jan. 26, 2012).
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Mississippi Supreme Court issues “true-up” decision in Katrina litigation
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