I’ve spent a few minutes catching up with the news this morning. Except for some confusing email exchanges with Nowdy I’ve largely been blissfully ignorant of nonfinancial currrent events in favor of work and the opportunity to spend most of yesterday outside in the freezing wind at the soccer complex.
First off the time stamps don’t work but I’ll invoke the work/blissful ignorance thing and lay claim to being Karnac the Magnificent with this comment I left last Thursday. For some reason this reminds me of the time MDOC screwed with Scott Favre back when. I’ll add there appears be to a very large segment of the populace in Oxford that seriously needs to be get laid or something. Thank Gawd I live on the coast.
Next up is the results of me searching “Anita Lee” at the Sun Herald website. We start with this story mainly because the lady who spearheaded this is an old neighbor of mine. Though not mentioned in the story, the story behind the story is it would not have happened unless an ordinary mother of two kids hadn’t gotten involved.
Looking up that story resulted in this find which was priceless as coast policyholder advocate Kevin Buckel has sued the Commish over a records request. I had to chuckle when I saw the story – we have no bad feelings for Mike Chaney here at slabbed though we give the Commish a good ribbing from time to time. 😉 I think more coasties need to let our Commish know what they are thinking just like Mr Buckel.
As for the lawsuit we wish Mr Buckel well but I noted he appears to be representing himself, the legal term for which is pro se. As Mr Gar once remarked the latin translation means “already lost” but you never know. (H/T Sun Herald for the pdfs).
One final thing on Mr Buckel’s quest for information, here are the numbers for Katrina:
The Insurance Service Organization compiled the total amount of Katrina claims filed and paid, but not the total amount of damage policyholders claimed. The numbers below include homeowner, condominium, mobile home and tenant policies covering structural and personal property damage and loss of use.
Total Mississippi claims from Katrina: 355,000.
Total amount paid: $5.650 billion.
Average paid per claim: $15,915.
Next up I see Gene Taylor has rolled out this year’s version of HR 3121, so hot off the press it has not yet been assigned a number. Both Gene and Brian visited with Anita Lee as the 2009 roll out of Multi Peril Insurance/NFIP reform begins:
U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Bay St. Louis, plans this week to once again introduce a bill that would add wind insurance to the National Flood Insurance Program.
Last year the bill passed the House but stalled in the Senate Banking Committee.
Taylor’s office is working to build consensus for the bill in other states through a new insurance-reform link on his House Web site, taylor.house.gov.
The site pulls together news coverage and information from Gulf and Atlantic states about rate increases, growth of state-sponsored wind pools, alleged fraud by insurance companies after Katrina and the private market’s retreat from the Gulf and Atlantic coastlines.
“I think it shows the private market is not going to work,” Taylor’s senior policy advisor, Brian Martin, said Friday.
“Private companies are just not going to cover coastal areas. State by state, these pools aren’t going to work. It’s just too much risk clustered in one place and the state pools really don’t have any ability to build up reserves.”
Martin has worked since Katrina on the insurance issue.
“I remain convinced it’s the biggest hindrance to our recovery,” Taylor said in a separate interview Friday.
“It’s more important to do now than it was two years ago. We’re just going to stay after it.”
Critics dislike Taylor’s plan because, they say, the flood program already is weighted with debt and other problems. They believe the addition of wind coverage would only exacerbate those problems.
Taylor said he is counting on continued support from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who visited Bay St. Louis along with Taylor and other House members for an insurance forum.
Taylor said several House allies have now moved over to the Senate.
Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the Banking Committee where the measure stalled in 2008, remains opposed to wind coverage through NFIP. Committee Chair Chris Dodd of Connecticut had pledged to work toward a solution, but Taylor said they have not conferred lately because Dodd has been caught up in issues over the economic crisis.
When he was campaigning in the South, then–Sen. Barack Obama said he supports the concept of wind coverage in the flood program, but only if the legislation encourages responsible development.
Martin said the bill encourages responsible development in two ways: Premiums are risk-based, not subsidized; and, to participate, communities must build to code recommendations.
Insurance executives from The Travelers Cos. have proposed an alternative coastal zone plan to provide coverage through the private market. Under the plan the federal government would sell to the insurance companies, at cost, reinsurance that would help them cover catastrophic losses.
But Taylor doesn’t see the solution in the private market.
“I think we have the best solution,” he said.
Finally as we catch up a week worth of local news from Anita Lee here is a snippet from the story she did on the Government’s response to the Bill of Particulars on USA v Warr:
Brent and Laura Warr sent their insurance company a six-page list of personal property Katrina destroyed in their waterfront home, but federal prosecutors contend “a substantial portion of the property was not in the dwelling.”
Prosecutors also say in court documents filed Friday that Brent Warr lied in a letter to Lexington Insurance Co. when he said the couple paid $1,400 a month rent from October 2005 to the date of the letter, March 2007. He typed his name as Mayor Brent Warr at the top of the letter and used the title again under his signature.
Prosecutors filed the documents on orders from U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Roper. Roper decided at a recent hearing the Warrs were entitled to more specifics about the insurance charges.
In addition to four insurance-fraud charges, they face 14 counts of Katrina fraud. They claimed the beachfront home as their primary residence when Katrina hit, receiving a $150,000 homeowner’s grant and $9,558 in FEMA relief.
The document signed by lead prosecutor and Assistant U.S. Attorney Annette Williams said the government will show renovations to the home had not been finished when Katrina hit.
Finally a couple of stories in today’s paper that caught my eye. First up is the Mayors race in Bay St Louis which is heating up. JR Welsh wrote a detailed story in today’s Sun Herald. Frankly, there is a blood driven block vote for hiz honner that I do not see these candidates overcoming.
Last but not least in Waveland Mayor Longo has teamed up with Keep America Beautiful hoping to turn out 2000 people to clean up the city. Ellis Anderson has the story:
Mayor Tommy Longo hopes to have 2,000 volunteers turn out for the Waveland kick-off of a massive national cleanup campaign Tuesday.
Last Thursday, Waveland community leaders met with representatives from the Keep America Beautiful organization to fine-tune plans for the day-long event. Longo called the beautification project the single biggest undertaking Waveland has launched since Hurricane Katrina.
“To date, we’ve dealt with gutting, debris removal and infrastructure,” said Longo. “Now we have a chance to make a huge aesthetic difference and lift people’s spirits.”
Gail Cunningham, senior vice president of Keep America Beautiful, said the organization’s signature program is the Great American Cleanup. Cunningham also serves as managing director of the cleanup program, which runs each year from March 1 to May 31.
In 2008 more than 30,000 projects across the country were completed in conjunction with the program.
Cunningham first visited the Coast in early 2006, bearing the message of Keep America Beautiful’s long-term commitment to reconstruction. Since that time the organization has sponsored beautification events in Biloxi, Gulfport and Long Beach. Waveland was chosen as the kick-off site in this year’s national cleanup.
“We were waiting until Waveland had infrastructure in place and now’s the perfect time,” she said. “It’s amazing how the community has rallied.”