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State Farm Adjusters Testify Flood Damage Obvious in Disputed Katrina Claim

Source: Sun Herald

Posted on 03 Apr 2013 by Neilson

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State Farm adjustersFour adjusters for State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. have now testified that photographs and a 5-foot water line show Katrina's flood damage to a North Biloxi home should be undisputed.

Former adjusters Cori and Kerri Rigsby insist wind destroyed the North Biloxi home before Katrina's tidal surge rolled ashore. They claim in a lawsuit that State Farm blamed flooding so the National Flood Insurance Program could be charged for a wind loss the insurance company should have covered. They are suing State Farm on the federal government's behalf, alleging State Farm committed fraud and conspired with two engineering firms to defraud the government with bogus reports about flood damage and Katrina's tidal surge.

The Rigsbys presented their case last week. On Tuesday, State Farm team manager John Conser testified that he allowed an expedited payment of $250,000 in flood policy limits on the house based mostly on the recommendation of Kerri Rigsby, an experienced flood adjuster. She adjusted the loss as a team manager for a firm State Farm hired, accompanying less experienced adjuster Cody Perry to inspect the home on the Tchoutacabouffa River.

Both Rigsby and Perry concluded flood losses far exceeded policy limits, testimony has shown. The adjusters offered the homeowners a $36,000 payment for wind damage. An expert witness for the Rigsbys earlier testified that State Farm "brain washed" adjusters to see water damage, which Kerri Rigsby also indicated during her testimony.

However, four adjusters testifying for State Farm, including Conser, say they were not trained to reach any premature conclusions about damage. Conser said wind did not rack, or twist, the house before surge arrived because the interior sheet rock would have been cracked and wall studs would have shifted.

"I know that is flood damage, not wind damage," Conser concluded after reviewing photos and other evidence. "I know it."