Twenty days before Mother Nature devastated the Southeast a year ago, Lance Ewing showed up for his new job as vice president of risk management at Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. in Memphis. Harrah’s had acquired Ewing’s former employer Caesars Entertainment, and Ewing was still in the process of surveying its properties. One month later, some of those properties were underwater.

Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma ultimately caused $1.5 billion in property insurance losses for Harrah’s. A broad array of casinos, hotels, restaurants, movie theatres, children’s arcades, parking garages, restaurants and retail shops in Gulfport and Biloxi, Miss., and New Orleans and Lake Charles, La., were shuttered because of extensive physical damage or because the government ordered them to close. Two riverboat casinos and those operated on now-submerged barges were unsalvageable. Massive losses from business interruption resulted.


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