damned if you do, damned if you don’t – are you pro the con of federal regulation?

“This is a halfway house,” Lord Levene said of a proposal devised by U.S. Treasury officials earlier this year that would create a federal office for insurance regulation.

Wrong house, Lord Levene, try Animal House.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll be brief. The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules, or took a few liberties with our female party guests – we did.

But you can’t hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn’t we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn’t this an indictment of our educational institutions in general?

I put it to you, Greg – isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!

How do we begin to regulate an industry that made Katrina a toga party?

I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part.

The only question is who’s going to step up with the really futile and stupid gesture? Reuters has the  the story.

The United States is expected to embrace federal regulation of the insurance industry as early as 2009, Continue reading “damned if you do, damned if you don’t – are you pro the con of federal regulation?”

Political Tap Dancing Ground Zero Style

Frankly I’m surprised the Bay St Louis NFIP letter contraversy is just making the Sun Herald but then again I recall only one short report on the same topic from WLOX a few weeks ago. I’m going to be completely honest and say I’ve been ducking this issue for weeks because the implications for impacted residents are severe despite the double talk coming from Bay St Louis city officials. Unfortunately if you are an impacted homeowner looking for straight answers, you’ll find none in the JR Welsh report on the topic in today’s Sun Herald which focuses on political finger pointing instead. First we’ll begin with the reporting which conveys some facts and then I’ll give some analysis including what I tell my paying clients from the area:

Hundreds of homeowners here are scratching their heads after receiving letters informing them they must either elevate, tear down or move their houses more than three years after Hurricane Katrina.

The letters were mailed to property owners by the city’s Building Department at the behest of the federal National Flood Insurance Program. About 1,300 of the letters have gone out over the last two months or so, city officials said.

The ominous letter informs property owners a “Substantial Damage Determination” found their property, located in a special flood-hazard area, had suffered hurricane damage in 2005 that equals or exceeds 50 percent of the current market value. Their options: Tear down the house, raise it higher or move it. Continue reading “Political Tap Dancing Ground Zero Style”

Saturday Music Post

We’ve been at this one year shy 14 days and what an amazing year this has been. I warned then newbie Nowdy that getting mixed up with me was likely to land her in some strange and new places in cyber space. I think I kept that promise. To my old cyber friends, all the new ones we’ve made this past year and on behalf of all of us here at Slabbed we thank you for coming here, reading and contributing, especially those with an insurer perspective such as Proximo and Mr Bullstroke.


The Concept of the Classic Reversal

Pronunciation: ˈkla-sik ri-ˈvər-səl

A sudden change in the price direction of a stock, index, commodity, or derivative security.

A reversal can be a positive or negative change against the prevailing trend. Technical analysts watch for these patterns because they can indicate the need for a different trading strategy on the same security.

Since I’m a numbers guy I tend to think in those terms. For example, around one year ago the Scruggs scandal broke and State Farm, with a large helping hand from several media and blog outlets, used that story to pummel innocent policyholders whose only crime was hiring a lawyer to help them fight for their contractual rights. The rest is history, some people were able to take the blows and keep on fighting. Others, like the McIntosh family gave out and settled for peanuts. Being on the receiving end of such a “reversal” really bites. Continue reading “The Concept of the Classic Reversal”

A Sneak Peek at the Scheme Part 6

I hope Nowdy doesn’t mind but I took a peek at Chapter 6 of the Scheme series and thought I’d give out an advance teaser as it is so good. Look for the full post soon:

Technology dominated the market for handling claims of property damage following Hurricane Katrina with an on-going off-board version of the monopoly game – played with the insurance industry’s usual three-pronged response when a significant liability risk begins to emerge:

monopoly-money-five-hundred-dollar-sm…limit its financial exposure under policies it has already sold by mounting an aggressive litigation campaign against coverage;

monopoly-money-five-hundred-dollar-sm1…influence public policy and legislation in a manner that limits its potential financial and legal exposure to such claims; and Continue reading “A Sneak Peek at the Scheme Part 6”

A Sign of the Times…

What is amazing to me is that we have not seen more news like Bailey’s Lumber announcement they are shuttering their Gulfport store. Residential construction has been in the tank for about a year now across the vast majority of the coast due to insurance affordability issues.  Now with the credit crisis and economic slowdown in full bloom, the few pockets of activity left in Eastern Harrison/Western Jackson counties are also suffering.

There is a good bit of analysis I could add to Ryan LaFontaine’s story but I won’t since I’m feeling lazy.  😉  Mr Bailey is absolutely right that Home Depot and Lowes are not his company’s problem. Contractors with little to no backlog would be the cause IMHO.

The slumping economy is forcing one of the Coast’s lumber giants to shut its doors, despite much post-Katrina construction left to be done in South Mississippi.

Bailey’s Lumber and Supply, a major player in construction in the Southeast since 1951, will soon close its Gulfport location as a belt-tightening move to help weather the current economic storm. Continue reading “A Sign of the Times…”

Video premiers on the Ladder – 8:30pm CST tomorrow (Friday, November 28)

When the Saints come marchin’ in
I’ll be walking to New Orleans…

Thanks to Editilla at the New Orleans Ladder, no one will need to walk to New Orleans or anywhere else for the video premier of Susan Cowsill’s Crescent City Snow.

Hold all our memories in one hand
So tight that you won’t let them go
And in the other hand we pray
That the wind and the panic and the rain
Will all turn to a
Soft and quiet, gentle peaceful, N-O-L-A,
Crescent City Snow

Continue reading “Video premiers on the Ladder – 8:30pm CST tomorrow (Friday, November 28)”

Open thread – we’ll all be thankful to know what’s on your mind.

I’ve run across stories of interest but my family is more interested in making certain I don’t slab the turkey; and, so, like Sop, I’ve got cooking at the top of my agenda.

I’ll start with one still up on my screen and hope others will add items of interest or comments.

Left out of the Bailout: The Poor

As the roster of corporations and financial institutions in line for government bailouts seems to grow, some public-policy advocates in Washington are calling on policymakers to focus more efforts on the nation’s poorest. The ranks of the destitute are growing quietly but alarmingly as much of the world focuses on troubles surrounding Wall Street. “Recent data show poverty is already rising quite substantially,” says Robert Greenstein, executive director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “There is a strong potential for more hardship and destitution than we have seen in this country in a number of decades.”

…Signs of the recession’s impact on America’s impoverished are increasingly apparent, Greenstein says, pointing to a dramatic rise in food-stamp caseloads in recent months. The number of people using food stamps has risen 9.6%, or roughly 2.6 million people, from August 2007 to August 2008, the last period for which data are available. Food banks around the country are reporting longer lines even as donations are falling….

A reminder on the eve of a day of Thanksgiving that Main Street is not the only street in town.