Toni Swain Orrill, a New Orleans resident whose house was severely damaged in Hurricane Katrina, filed a class action suit recently against American International Group (AIG) and its subsidiary, Audubon. The suit charges that the company has failed to help its policyholders who are in desperate need of assistance after the hurricane. AIG and Audobon were the underwriters and service providers of Louisiana Citizens Fair Plan (FAIR), which provides homeowners’ policies of last resort to those who cannot get insurance elsewhere, including many poor people in New Orleans and the surrounding area. The class action suit is on behalf of Louisiana’s FAIR plan policyholders — about 400,000 people. The suit alleges that AIG has completely failed to provide any way for its policyholders whose homes have been damaged to initiate a claim or even reach its offices to find out how to do that, or to provide temporary disaster relief provided under their policies. Orrill’s husband, Ray, an attorney who represents his wife in the suit, said, “My wife has called and emailed the insurance company over 60 times, and could never get through. It is outrageous that she, and so many others whose homes were severely damaged in the storm, cannot even get through to their insurers, much less get relief from them. Someone had to take a stand.” Ray Orrill said that another insurer, Allstate, provided his wife with a FAIR claim form as a courtesy, after failing to get any response from AIG. She submitted it to AIG almost thirty days ago and has not received a response.

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