The decision by industry critic Trent Lott, R-Miss., to give up his Senate seat, combined with the softening insurance market, is expected to ease the backlash in Congress against the industry over Hurricane Katrina claims in the long term, although some threats remain before he leaves office at year’s end, lobbyists warn.

Sen. Lott became an outspoken foe of insurers after Hurricane Katrina–suing State Farm over his own homeowners claim before settling with the carrier last spring. He is said to have promised after Hurricane Katrina he would “bring down” the industry.

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