A Flood of Controversial Semantics Over Fire-Related Losses

Last Friday, we posted an Open Thread with some videos that helped teach American Sign Language. Did anyone give it 'em a shot? They're reposted, below the fold. Today, this morning's Open Thread about Net Neutrality -- check it out.

Thiis piece, meanwhile, is nothing so educational or informative -- we're going to make note of a wonderful new way an insurance company is attempting to avoid paying out on a policy.

You might want to sit down for this.

From The Houston Chronicle (hat-tip DWoods12), insurance provider Great American Insurance Company is attempting to argue in a federal court that the smoke that killed three people in a 2007 fire in Houston was "pollution" and that surviving families shouldn't be compensated for their losses since the deaths were not directly caused by the actual flames:

Great American Insurance Company is arguing in a Houston federal court that the section of the insurance policy that excludes payments for pollution — like discharges or seepage that require cleanup — would also exclude payouts for damages, including deaths, caused by smoke, or pollution, that results from a fire.


Great American has asked U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal to find that the deaths caused by the smoke, fumes and soot from the March 2007 fire set by a nurse working in the building will not be covered by the policy because there is a specific exclusion for pollution and it mentions smoke, fumes and soot.

The insurance company that carries the primary $1 million policy hasn't made this argument.

Aside from the story itself, it is curious to note the last name of the reporter who wrote this story for the Chronicle -- "Flood." A woman named Mary Flood (mary.flood@chron.com) wrote a story about an insurance company trying to get out of paying a claim on a fire insurance policy. Talk about ironic.