Obama replaces mumbo-jumbo with gumbo in selecting EPA chief from lower 9th ward

Gumbo replaces mumbo-jumbo as  Obama taps New Orleans native Lisa Jackson to lead Environmental Protection Agency

NEWSMAKER JACKSONLisa Perez Jackson… grew up…in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward…where her mother lived until Hurricane Katrina…[and]…was first in her class at St. Mary’s Dominican High School in New Orleans in 1979.

Jackson graduated summa cum laude from Tulane University, with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, before leaving Louisiana to get her master’s degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University…

As part of Obama’s energy and environment team Continue reading “Obama replaces mumbo-jumbo with gumbo in selecting EPA chief from lower 9th ward”

Your land, my land – and we’re at risk of losing more than Louisiana

wearenotalone-us-map-of-loss-risk22This land is your land. This land is my land. From the redwood forest to the gulf stream waters, This land was made for you and me

Seventy miles south of New Orleans, on the eastern end of Grand Isle, a small tide gauge records the Gulf of Mexico rising against the surrounding land. The monthly increases are microscopic, narrower than a single strand of hair.

Climate scientists recording those results think they add up to something huge. The gauge, they say, may be quietly writing one of the first big stories in the age of global warming: the obituary for much of southeast Louisiana.

losing-la475-top1The Times Picayune is recording, too – and you don’t won’t to miss the series Losing Louisiana.  Read the rest of the lede story in Part 1 that published this past Saturday.

The series is exceptional in every way – so language rich that two paragraphs into Part 2 that it begins to feel like you’re watching a movie as you engage every sense while reading the story and that’s before you get to the equally remarkable graphics.

From atop the bridge soaring over Bayou Lafourche, a sweeping panorama of the southeast Louisiana coast unfolds. Scattered strings of green marsh break up wide expanses of open water. Pelicans swing on the breezes. Fish jump across the waves as crabbers and oyster harvesters pursue their livelihoods in a postcard scene of a rich life close to nature. Continue reading “Your land, my land – and we’re at risk of losing more than Louisiana”

Weather Modeling Pioneer Karen Clark Slams Use of Short Term Models

Yep it’s official ladies and gents, short term modeling doesn’t work too well according to Karen Clark:

Karen Clark & Company, independent experts in catastrophe risk, catastrophe models, and catastrophe risk management, today released a report on the performance of near term hurricane models. The report finds the models, designed to predict insured losses in the U.S. from Atlantic hurricanes for the five-year period ending in 2010, significantly overestimated these losses for the cumulative 2006 through 2008 hurricane seasons.

Slabbed readers can obtain a pdf of the report here. The press release continues:

Near term models were introduced in 2006 by the three major catastrophe modelers − AIR Worldwide (AIR), EQECAT and Risk Management Solutions (RMS). AIR initially predicted an overall annualized increase in hurricane losses of 40 percent above the long term average, but later lowered that figure to 16 percent in 2007. EQECAT predicted increases of between 35 and 37 percent, and RMS consistently predicted an overall increase of 40 percent above the long term average.

Assuming long term average annual hurricane losses of $10 billion for each year, these figures translate into cumulative insured losses for 2006 through 2008 of $37.2 billion, $40.8 billion, and $42 billion respectively, for the AIR, EQECAT and RMS models. The actual cumulative losses were $13.3 billion, far lower than the model predictions, and more than 50% below the long term cumulative average of $30 billion. Continue reading “Weather Modeling Pioneer Karen Clark Slams Use of Short Term Models”

“no class” in Citizen’s hearing

What was scheduled as class action hearing on $35million Citizen’s settlement turned out to be a display of “no class” at all.

Rebecca Mowbray has the story – and I can’t help but wonder what she was thinking yesterday as she was typed Judge orders lawyer to jail after fight breaks out in Citizen’s class action hearing.

A fight broke out this morning at a hearing in a class action lawsuit against Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp., ending with one lawyer on the ground and another being ordered to spend the night in jail.

Attorneys J. Robert Ates and Madro Bandaries exchanged words at Orleans Parish Civil District Court, then suddenly appeared to be on the verge of a fistfight when Bandaries fell to the ground.

Some attorneys stepped in to break up the fight while others ran outside to alert security and find Judge Kern Reese, who is presiding over the hearing.

Reese ordered Ates to spend a night in jail and pay a fine of $100, despite his pleas to be allowed to offer his testimony. Ates, who is representing an objector to the proposed $35 million settlement, was taken away in handcuffs.

“The one thing I am not going to tolerate is lawyers being unprofessional,” Reese said after taking testimony from several witnesses to the fracas and concluding that Bandaries, who brokered the proposed settlement, had been attacked.

Today’s hearing, which is ongoing, is being held to determine the fairness of the proposed $35 million settlement of charges that Citizens didn’t handle claims quickly enough after Hurricane Katrina. If the settlement is found to be fair, it will pave the way for the settlement to be finalized.

Attorneys in a rival class action suit in Jefferson Parish say the settlement in New Orleans shorts policyholders and raids their effort. Their case has a summary judgment hearing scheduled for January and a trial date in March.

At this writing, Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is on the stand.

Will update as information becomes available.

Blogging and Commenting: US Army Corp of Engineers Takes it on the Chin Courtesy of Blogger Sandy Rosenthal (Updated)

Many moons ago Editilla at the Ladder turned us on to Ms Rosenthal and her website Levees.org. Those that follow the Ladder and Levees.org also know there are several problem areas at the intersection of the NOLA Levees and USACE that Ms Rosenthal and Editilla have expressed  genuine citizen concern. Evidently some of the people at USACE headquarters took exception that Ms Rosenthal took exception and the end result was this story which ran on WWL last night in New Orleans.

You can get more details from Editilla here and Ms Rosenthal here.

Nowdy, we’ve been flamed so many times by people in the insurance industry and certain governmental agencies that our fannies are charred, black and very crisp. That said I have mixed emotions regarding going public with the info. One thing that can not be denied Continue reading “Blogging and Commenting: US Army Corp of Engineers Takes it on the Chin Courtesy of Blogger Sandy Rosenthal (Updated)”

The End Result of Regulatory Capture: Madoff and Another Bailout

I’ve been too busy too keep up with the news but the spectacular implosion of the Madoff hedge fund caught my attention if only because it serves up another great example of regulators being asleep at the switch at the US Securities and Exchange Commission instead of protecting the investing public from fraudsters such as Bernard Madoff.  From what I’ve read and heard Madoff’s so called investment bank was nothing more than ye ole Ponzi Scheme.  Even better the toothless watchdogs at the SEC looked at Madoff multiple times and found nothing wrong.


I’ve written about the problems with regulatory capture many times here on slabbed, from our own Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney to big problems at the SEC involving John Mack, CEO of Morgan Stanley.  The end result is never good for the public though Mr Mack’s $40 million dollar bonus must have been nice for him.

As for the group of very distinguished bagholders that resulted from Mr Madoff’s get rich quick Ponzi Scheme, they may just get a bailout according to this AP story carried by the Sun Herald.

A federal judge on Monday threw a lifesaver to investors who may have been duped in one of Wall Street’s biggest alleged frauds, saying they need the protection of a special government reserve fund set up to help investors at failed brokerage firms.

U.S. District Judge Louis L. Stanton ordered that clients of Bernard Madoff’s private investment business seek relief under a federal statute created to rescue cheated investors. Stanton also ordered that business be liquidated under the jurisdiction of a bankruptcy court and named attorney Irvin H. Picard as trustee to oversee that process. Continue reading “The End Result of Regulatory Capture: Madoff and Another Bailout”

Insurance – it’s a small world

As the national economy plunged this fall, the timetable for the recovery of Louisiana’s beleaguered property insurance market may have slowed with it, Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said.

Insurers are required to have a certain amount of capital on hand for every dollar of each homeowner’s policy that they write to make sure they have enough money to pay claims in case a hurricane or earthquake destroys large swaths of homes.

But with the value of insurers’ investments being eroded with the stock market in recent months, companies have less money available to write new business. In the most extreme cases, insurance companies could find themselves without enough money on hand to cover the homes that are already on their books.

Bob Hartwig, an economist who is president of the Insurance Information Institute trade group, said Louisiana’s large and ever-present risk of hurricanes is a much bigger factor in insurance availability and price than any fluctuations in the value of insurers’ investments.

Hartwig told Times Picayune reporter Rebecca Mowbray he believes market conditions will affect the state’s property insurance landscape. How insightful! Continue reading “Insurance – it’s a small world”