State Farm checks 'incredibly rewarding'

More than 100 Mississippi policyholders who sued State Farm Insurance Cos. for refusing to cover damage from Hurricane Katrina have been paid this week as part of a multimillion-dollar settlement with the insurer, attorneys for the homeowners said.

State Farm agreed last month to pay about $80 million to settle lawsuits filed by 640 policyholders whose claims were denied after the Aug. 29, 2005, storm that destroyed tens of thousands of homes on Mississippi's Gulf Coast.

Richard "Dickie" Scruggs, an attorney whose legal team represents all 640 of the policyholders, said Tuesday that more than 100 of his clients have received checks this week. The rest are expected to be paid by the end of next week.

"It's incredibly rewarding," Scruggs said. "This is something I wish I could do for the whole Gulf Coast."

Max and Linda Ingram, who moved north to Carthage, Miss., after Katrina leveled their beach-front home in Ocean Springs, drove down Monday to pick up their check and sign the paperwork necessary to settle their lawsuit.

"It felt like justice had been served," Max Ingram said. "I just wish all of the policyholders could experience the same thing. The coast can't rebuild if the insurance companies don't pay."