Claims News Service, Apr. 19, 9:34 a.m. EDT — The American Insurance Association is reporting that Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood recently made comments comparing insurance companies to marching Nazi soldiers.

Hood has been in the headlines for months after filing litigation that seeks to force private sector insurers to pay for billions of dollars of property losses caused by flooding and storm surge following Hurricane Katrina, neither of which typically are covered by homeowners’ insurance contracts. The flood-coverage exclusion language — which is part of a policy form approved by the state of Mississippi — was upheld last week by the U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Mississippi. AIA participated in an amicus brief in that case (Buente v. Allstate).

According to AIA, Hood compared insurance companies dealing with Hurricane Katrina claims to “Nazis locking arms, coming at those people down there on the coast.” AIA President Marc Racicot, who is a former attorney general and governor of Montana, responded by letter to Hood with the following comments.

While recognizing that “Hurricane Katrina did unleash a terrible tragedy upon the people of Mississippi,” Racicot emphasized that “comparing the insurance response to this unprecedented natural disaster to the Holocaust is appalling. Also appalling is your comparison of tens of thousands of insurance company representatives who have been working tirelessly to help settle Hurricane Katrina claims to Nazis.”

Setting the record straight in the face of Hood’s criticism of insurers’ response to Hurricane Katrina, Racicot reminded the attorney general that, “dozens of insurance companies have worked around the clock since Hurricane Katrina came ashore, handling more than 500,000 claims in Mississippi alone, and paying billions of dollars to Mississippi homeowners and businesses as compensation for their losses. These insurers will continue working diligently and professionally until all Hurricane Katrina claims are successfully settled, so that Mississippians can reconstruct their homes and businesses, and resume their lives.”

For the complete release, click here.