Judge Tells Insurer to Cough it Up

A judge's ruling could affect hundreds of Panhandle residents whose homes were destroyed by 20-foot waves that crashed ashore during Hurricane Ivan.

It could also have implications for other victims of last year's hurricanes.

A Leon County circuit court judge says Citizens Property Insurance Corporation must pay the full amount of damage under homeowners policies even if homes were primarily damaged by flooding and not wind.

Citizens is the state created insurer for people who can't get policies from private companies.

The insurer argues it should not be paying for losses caused by flooding.

Lawyers arguing for homeowners in a class action lawsuit say state law requires insurers to pay the full amount of a policy even if an uncovered catastrophe causes a portion of the damage.

Tony Thevis' Navarre Beach home was destroyed by Ivan. He says he had more than $400,000 in homeowners coverage, but Citizens paid just under $10,000.