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It’s really starting to look grim for State Farm and other insurers that had expected the standard flood exclusion to protect them from hundreds of millions of dollars in Hurricane Katrina-related damages. What’s worse, not only did the carrier lose on the merits of its argument, it’s getting hammered by ticked-off jurors not shy about handing down stiff punitive damage awards. Indeed, the $2.5 million penalty levied by a Mississippi jury last week is anything but a slap on the wrist, and puts all insurers with similar claims on notice that it might be time to settle.

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