Bad News On The Gulf

Students from the Baptist Student Union from Georgia State University help clean out a home in New Orleans Tuesday March 14, 2006. The students are spending their spring break gutting homes damaged from Hurricane Katrina. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)
AP Photo/Bill Haber
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
For thousands and thousands of people whose homes were destroyed last summer by hurricane Katrina the news was devastating.

Tuesday a U.S. District Court judge in Mississippi sided with the insurance company in a fight with a policy holder who claimed that the category five hurricane had already done ample damage to his property before the storm surge wrecked the house completely. Insurance companies are saying up and down the coast, "We don't have to pay for the water damage. Our policies cover wind and rain."

Folks I have spoken to who lost their homes say they are getting — excuse the vernacular — screwed.

They found their own experts who say the wind damage alone was enough to cripple any house and the storm surge just finished the job. Many a homeowner had been counting on that in hopes of collecting insurance.

There will many more law suits to come. But this precedent is bad news on the Gulf

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.
By Harry Smith