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Business in brief: State Farm trying for Katrina deal

State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. is negotiating a multimillion dollar settlement in Mississippi on thousands of lawsuits and other disputed policyholder claims from Hurricane Katrina, people with direct knowledge of the negotiations said Monday.

State Farm lawyers met with Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood as recently as Friday to discuss a settlement, which would resolve a civil lawsuit Hood filed against the company for refusing to cover damage from Katrina’s storm surge almost 16 months ago.

A mass settlement would be the first of its kind to follow the wave of litigation spawned by Katrina. The Mississippi settlement would not involve any cases filed by State Farm policyholders in Louisiana or Alabama.

Hood, through a spokeswoman, declined to be interviewed Monday. But he issued a statement: “I am working day and night attempting to get our coastal residents a fair shake in the insurance litigation period. It would not help our negotiations to disclose any details at this time.”

Hood last month announced he was trying to negotiate a settlement with several insurance companies, but didn’t specify which ones.

State Farm spokesman Phil Supple said that while no settlement has been reached with Hood, “we continue to talk and search for ways to bring these events to a resolution.”

State Farm, Mississippi’s largest home insurer, says it has paid roughly $1.1 billion for about 84,000 property claims in the state, not including flood insurance.

Las Vegas

Kodak deepens digital presence

Eastman Kodak Co. entered the digital photo frame market Monday, offering a set of products that links wirelessly to a computer and can access photos on its photo-sharing Web site, Kodak EasyShare Gallery.

It marks the latest move toward digital for a company that used to rely on film, chemicals and paper for profits and brings a measure of credibility to a technology that’s been around for years.

The frames, with interchangeable face plates, directly accept memory cards of all types, USB connections and Wi-Fi commands to and from a computer. It can even command a printer to print out a photo, in case the user wanted a hard copy, after all.

The devices come in 7- and 8-inch LCD screen types as well as 8- and 10-inch wireless versions, ranging in price from $179.95 to $279.95.


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