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Finance & Insurance Week: Geico Class Action Suit, Another Study Faulting FEMA Flood Maps & More

November 04, 2022 (1 min read)

Judge Green-Lights Geico Class Action Suit

A federal judge gave the go-ahead for a lawsuit accusing Geico Corp. of overcharging over 2 million California policyholders for car insurance early in the coronavirus pandemic may proceed as a class action.

Geico decided to provide $2.5 billion in credits, including 15 percent off renewals to policyholders, beginning in April 2020, in acknowledgement that they were driving less and getting into fewer accidents. But policyholders balked at the “Geico Giveback” program, contending the amount of the credit was “well short” of the “substantial and full relief” Geico claimed it was, given the substantial reduction in risks.

U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman in San Jose, California said a class action was preferable to numerous individual lawsuits and that the plaintiffs’ damages model could provide “an appropriate percentage refund over a sufficiently long time” to be manageable. (INSURANCE JOURNAL)

Study Says Flawed FEMA Flood Maps Place Homeowners at Risk

A study by North Carolina State University found that federal flood maps are misleading and preventing homeowners who actually need flood insurance from purchasing it.

“In fact, only about 4% of homeowners nationwide have flood insurance — a problem that can be largely attributed to the flood maps created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency,” the report states.

FEMA’s maps show designated flood hazard areas considered to be most at risk from a 100-year flood event. Homeowners in such areas are generally required to purchase flood insurance to obtain a federally backed mortgage. Homeowners outside of those zones, however, are not, leaving many in vulnerable areas unprotected.

“We’re seeing that there’s a lot of flood damage being reported outside of the 100-year floodplain,” said the lead author of the study, Elyssa Collins, a doctoral candidate at NC State’s Center for Geospatial Analytics.

A study in 2020 by Rice University found that nearly twice as many properties were vulnerable to a 100-year flood than the FEMA maps indicated. (INSURANCE JOURNAL, NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY)

U.S. Bank Ransomware Filings Top $1B in 2021

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network reported that it received 1,489 ransomware-related filings totaling almost $1.2 billion from U.S. financial institutions in 2021. That sum is a 188 percent increase from the $416 million total for 2020. The majority of the attacks were carried out by groups tied to Russia. (BLOOMBERG, FINCEN)

-- Compiled by KOREY CLARK


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