State Farm won't write new policies here

State Farm is suspending sales of any new commercial or homeowner policies in Mississippi effective Friday, citing in part a wave of litigation it has faced after Hurricane Katrina.

Mississippi's "current legal and political environment is simply untenable," said Mike Fernandez, vice president of public affairs for State Farm. "We're just not in a position to accept any additional risk in this homeowners' market."

Fernandez says the action was not a direct response to any specific development in the litigation, which has included a recent federal jury's $2.5 million punitive damage award to a policyholder who sued State Farm for refusing to cover storm surge damage.