State Farm takes another swing at Qui Tam attorneys – Judge Senter calls “strike 1”

We’ve got ourselves a ballgame here, folks.

Here’s how Judge Senter’s called it in the Order he issued yesterday.

Defendant State Farm Fire and Casualty Company filed a Motion for Leave to File Excess Pages with respect to memoranda connected to its Motion to Disqualify Relators’ Counsel.

Before obtaining the Court’s permission, said Defendant filed its reply. Continue reading “State Farm takes another swing at Qui Tam attorneys – Judge Senter calls “strike 1””

Reinsurance lobby credited with defeat of Wicker’s amendment

Senator Wicker’s attempted amendment adding wind coverage to the National Flood Insurance Program failed on a 73-19 vote. Sop reported the vote here using the McClatchey story from the Sun Herald. The Associated Press carried a slightly different versions of the story.

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., who has pushed the measure in the Senate, noted that a review by the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the proposal would create no “significant budgetary impact.”

“By covering wind and flood risks in one policy, the multiple peril option will allow coastal homeowners to buy insurance and know that hurricane damage would be covered,” Wicker said. He called it a “commonsense proposal” that would prevent homeowners from having to go to court to determine whether a house was damaged by flood or wind.

Unfortunately, commonsense was in short supply when the vote was taken. “It’s not that we disagree, it’s a legitimate issue,” Dodd said. “But this amendment could end up costing us billions more than we anticipate. We don’t have any idea.”

Rebecca Morbray provided background in GAO report criticizes plan to add wind coverage to National Flood Program. Continue reading “Reinsurance lobby credited with defeat of Wicker’s amendment”

Chip Merlin Weighs in on Multi-Peril

Chip Merlin has an excellent blog entry on multi peril insurance. He is a free market guy and his arguments are compelling. I’m going to cheat and play to how Chip has been sterotyped. His conclusions, along with the problems with the underlying business theory at play now are thought provoking.

So what do the oligopoly of State Farm, Allstate and Nationwide do regarding the wind risk along coastal states?  They leave, raise rates and then start a national debate about government taking on the risk that they do not, but do not want new competitors replacing them.   What “free enterprise” champions they are!!

Policyholders want one stop shopping for their insurance.  They also want to know that they will be able to get insurance, so there exists some strong argument for the coverage.  However, it is amazing that an industry built on spreading risks, and making money from it, transfers the variable catastrophic risks to the government—which is really the people—whenever it is to their advantage.

Meanwhile the Long Promised State Farm Market Conduct Study Almost Complete

At his insurance forum in early March of this year Insurance Commissioner Chaney mentioned his office’s market conduct study of State Farm was almost complete. It looks to be comprehensive too as the Anita Lee’s story makes clear it not only will cover State Farm’s behavior but will also include Jim Hood and the Rigsby sisters.

At this point I’ll acknowledge the rumors on the street predict the study will be a complete whitewash of the events here after Katrina. Lee Harrell acknowledges those rumors too. After reading the story I now wonder if they are true.  Here is today’s Sun Herald story:

The state will finish a study of how State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. handled claims after Hurricane Katrina by month’s end, Mississippi Deputy Insurance Commissioner Lee Harrell said Wednesday.

The study, anticipated before the end of 2007, began 18 months ago. Former Insurance Commissioner George Dale ordered it because of consumer complaints about how insurance companies handled Hurricane Katrina claims. Continue reading “Meanwhile the Long Promised State Farm Market Conduct Study Almost Complete”

Senate Defeats Wicker’s Wind Amendment

As we expected Senator Wicker’s multi peril amendment went down in flames as an ill wind blew through the Senate.  Senators Clinton, McCain and Obama were MIA. McClatchy reporter Lesley Clark has the story. Nowdy has some analysis in the works for later today.

A Gulf Coast-backed effort to add wind coverage to the National Flood Insurance Program was soundly defeated Wednesday in the Senate amid concerns it would be too costly. 

The drive to add the amendment to the flood insurance bill failed, 73-19. Opponents said they were leery of the cost and opposed federal intervention in private markets.

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, urged a vote against the amendment but said he was “determined to come up with some answers” on providing affordable insurance to homeowners in disaster-prone states. Continue reading “Senate Defeats Wicker’s Wind Amendment”