20061129 hurricane 55765143 18
Waves crash inland on the flooded shore of Lake Charles, Louisiana after Hurrican Rita in September 2005. - 


Scott Jagow: So far, it's been a tame hurricane season, knock on wood. But as we found out in 2005, storms can come in fast and furiously. Katrina, Rita and Wilma came in August, September and October that year. It was a brutal triple-punch that led to more than three million insurance claims. Some of them are still in the courts. Late yesterday, a federal appeals court in Louisiana handed a victory to insurance companies, which is a defeat for a dozens of homeowners. Marketplace's Dan Grech reports.

Dan Grech: Back in November, a district court had said policyholders were entitled to compensation because the wording in their insurance policies was ambiguous.

Yesterday, a three-judge appeals court panel overturned that ruling. It found that flood damage was unambiguously excluded from the policies.

Joseph Annotti is with the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

Joseph Annotti: The message that sends is that a) contracts are valid, and ultimately I think that will help rejuvenate the market in areas prone to wind and water damage. And 2) for homeowners, if you're susceptible to flood, you need a flood policy from the federal government.

Thousands of other Katrina insurance cases have already been settled or mediated out of court, but hundreds more remain in the system, as desperate homeowners wait for their day in court.

I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.