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House committee to probe Katrina claims issues


WASHINGTON--The chairman of the House Financial Services Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations has scheduled a hearing on insurance issues affecting people who suffered damage from 2005's Hurricane Katrina.

Rep. Melvin L. Watt, D-N.C., announced the Feb. 28 hearing on Thursday. In a statement announcing the hearing, Rep. Watt said that the hearing is in "response to concerns raised by a number of members from the Gulf Coast."

The statement added that "it is important for the subcommittee to begin the process of examining the claims-paying process by private insurance companies following Hurricane Katrina to establish a factual record for the committee to consider going forward."

The hearing comes after a Jan. 17 promise by Rep. Watt and Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., that the committee would be looking into what the two lawmakers called "serious allegations of a failure in the insurance system to serve the purpose for which it was intended" in the aftermath of Katrina.