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State’s highest court reverses decision in Windpool case

By JACK WEATHERLY

The Mississippi Supreme Court has reversed decisions by the state insurance commissioner and Hinds County Chancery Court and ordered a reconsideration of Arrowood Indemnity Co.’s suit against the Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association.

The company said it made an overpayment of nearly $5 million because it was misled by the association, known as the Windpool.

The Windpool, composed of property insurers, provides wind and hail insurance to citizens on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The insurance company claimed – and the Supreme Court affirmed – that it failed to claim appropriate credits from the pool because of misinformation provided by the pool.

“So Arrowood requested an opportunity to submit the correct information, but the Windpool denied its request because because the deadline for corrections had passed,” Associate Justice Ann Lamar wrote for the majority.

Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney had stated in his analysis of the matter that “[T]he [Windpool] has not denied Arrowood any constitutional or statutory right; the Mississippi Supreme Court has already determined that the [Windpool] has the power to set a deadline, require adherence to the deadline and deny its former member an unlimited right to correct their own reporting errors.”

Lamar wrote that “[w]hile we agree with the Commissioner that this Court said [in a previous case] that the Windpool has the authority . . to set deadlines and enforce those deadlines we did not say that those deadlines were immutable and were not subject to other mitigating principles of law.”

Justices Michael Randolph, James Kitchens, Leslie King, James Maxwell and Dawn Beam concurred. Justice Jess Dickinson concurred in “result only” with separate written opinion joined by Josiah Coleman in part and in result without separate written opinion. Chief Justice Bill Waller did not participate.

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