Phoenix, Ariz.–Insurers could end up paying out billions more than their exposure models predicted for hurricane losses in the Gulf Coast if government officials and private attorneys succeed in stripping policies of their standard flood exclusions, industry officials here warned.

One key battle for insurers looking to defend their policies will be fending off a lawsuit filed by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood. That action–along with other private lawsuits==seeks to force the industry to pay homeowners flood claims, arguing in part that language excluding flood damage is ambiguous.

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