A class action lawsuit has been filed in United States District Court in Baltimore against seven insurance companies alleging that they mishandled the claims of thousands of policyholders who suffered damages to their houses in September 2003′s Hurricane Isabel.

"The treatment of Hurricane Isabel victims by the companies that provided flood insurance is shameful," said Andrew N. Friedman, of Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll in Washington, D.C., who is representing the plaintiffs. "What makes the insurance companies' conduct so offensive is that their egregious treatment of the flood victims was not merely limited to isolated events, but rather represented a uniform and systemic attempt to improperly deny or significantly reduce the size of the payout of flood claims."

The insurers named as defendants in the complaint are State Farm Insurance, Omaha Property and Casualty, Travelers Property Casualty, USAA General Indemnity, Selective Insurance Co. of the Southeast, Indemnity Insurance Co. of North America, and Harleysville Mutual Insurance Co. All were participants in the National Flood Insurance Program.

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