$enator Chri$ Dodd You Sanctimonious SumBitch, Welcome to Slabbed

Here at Slabbed, we’ve been on this Gucci suit wearing crook wayyyyyyy before it was fashionable: Yahoo News has the story: (H/T Steve)

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) looks like he may be facing a fresh political firestorm.

Dodd just admitted on CNN that he inserted a loophole in the stimulus legislation that allowed million-dollar bonuses to insurance giant AIG to go forward – after previously denying any involvement in writing the controversial provision. .

“We wrote the language in the bill, the deal with bonuses, golden parachutes, excessive executive compensation that was adopted unanimously by the United States Senate in the stimulus bill,” Dodd told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer this afternoon.

“But for that language, there would have been no language to deal with this at all.”

Dodd had previously said that he played no role in writing the controversial language, and was not a part of the conference committee that inserted the language in the bill. As late as today, Dodd’s spokeswoman denied the senator’s involvement.

Continue reading “$enator Chri$ Dodd You Sanctimonious SumBitch, Welcome to Slabbed”

Making ends meet – super-size fries and AIG bonuses

Distraction, to some, has always been considered the fourth D in the insurance strategy to maximize profits at the expense of policyholders – delay, deny, deceive – and distract.

I guess I’m just in the minority here, but I’m having a bit of trouble getting exercised about $165 million (just to put that into perspective, the movie sequel The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian had a budget of $200 million) in bonuses to AIG employees…

It’s curious, but not particularly surprising by now, the stuff that folks in Congress get selectively pissed off about, the stuff that media (both mainstream and blogosphere) go selectively wall-to-wall over, versus the stuff they don’t.

You’ll pardon me if I’m not particularly moved much at all by the latest round of AIG sturm-und-drang, hand-wringing, navel-gazing, finger-pointing and speechifying. Oh, and about the still-free bin Laden, and the still-free anthrax killer…well, don’t get me started. Guess those things don’t much matter.

The Brad Blog has a point.  Senator Dodd has another.

According to Dodd, officials at Treasury expressed concern that if the government were to prohibit payouts, it risked being sued by companies like AIG, which had contracts stipulating that bonuses were to be paid.

At the urging of Treasury officials, Dodd modified a clause he had previously inserted into the stimulus that prohibited bonuses from being issued by bailed-out companies. An exemption was added to allow bonuses that applied to in-place contracts.

graph-children-w-out-employed-parent2Slabbed adds a third.  Treasury is clearly out of touch with the millions of Americans whose idea of a bonus is super-size fries!

The graph at the right shows the percentage of children living in families where no parent has full-time, year-round employment – starting from left to right Connecticut, New York, the US average, and continuing with the Katrina states: Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.

WTF came up with a concern about “companies like AIG” suing the government? You can bet your bonus it wasn’t anyone who lost everything when the Corps-built levees didn’t hold or someone screwed by AIG’s handling of their NFIP claim. Continue reading “Making ends meet – super-size fries and AIG bonuses”

Merlin blows cover off roof damage in Texas

My wish is that somebody is going to read this Blog, call or write TWIA, and let them know that they need to write all their policyholders to alert them that the memo is wrong. However, my guess is that they will hire an attorney, and try to defend or explain the memo. (Chip Merlin)

I must admit to having similar thoughts about posts on SLABBED when I see a case lost for lack of information readily available to a non-lawyer researching the issue.  Frankly, I hold out virtually no hope of any insurer ever admitting to and correcting an error.  The field appears to be dominated by leaders who view themselves as Mr. Always Right.  Eager to shake the label “bureaucrat”, leadership of publicly funded windpools and other “last resort” options quickly forget such programs exist because of a related failure in the insurance industry and eagerly become “one of the boys” – a lapse that IMO is resulting in an overpopulation of these Mr. Rights commiting every possible wrong.

Merlin’s wish would be my command if I had such power; but, alas, I have only the power to join him in wishing  for a good outcome from his effort and, in the absence of a magic wand,  cross-post  The TWIA Roof Damage Memo: Checking Basic References to Resolve Adjustment Questions that contains a link to his equally excellent Internal Texas Windstorm Roofing Claims Memo Explains Damage is Not Covered.

The post from this morning, Internal Texas Windstorm Roofing Claims Memo Explains Damage is Not Covered, raised a number of interesting methods to research this coverage issue. Many risk managers and public adjusters will simply call me to get a quick opinion regarding many day to day coverage issues. I thought it might be interesting to see what adjusters may have in their basic training materials to answer the questions raised in the memo. I have no idea if the TWIA claims executives looked at any reference materials. I hope they authored the claims memo in ignorance, because the opposite poses a different set of problems. Continue reading “Merlin blows cover off roof damage in Texas”

Breaking: US Representative Taylor Releases PR on AIG

Congressman Gene Taylor

U.S. House of Representatives

Fourth District of Mississippi


2269 Rayburn HOB

Washington, DC 20515

(202) 225-5772

Fax (202) 225-7074


For Immediate Release                                    Contact: Ana Maria Rosato March 15, 2009                                                   (202) 253-1308

AIG’s financial shenanigans? “Why is anyone Surprised?!”

retorted Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS)

“Bilking American Taxpayers is What Insurance Companies do.”“Bilking American taxpayers is what insurance companies do. Why is anyone surprised?!” Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) retorted to the recent public disclosure of AIG’s financial shenanigans. “Insurance companies believe that they are above the law. Well, in fact, when it comes to the federal laws, they are. The number of federal laws and regulations for the industry is a whopping ZERO. None. Not one. Insurance companies aren’t even subject to the nation’s anti-trust laws which prevent collusion and price fixing, laws that every other financial services business is subject to. This must end.”   To get payment on their legitimate wind damage claims, property owners had to resort to hiring attorneys and engineers to take their insurance carriers to court before getting their claims paid. Rep. Taylor represents the Mississippi Gulf Coast region that Hurricane Katrina ruthlessly battered. After hurricane force winds ripped through the region, property insurance companies deliberately failed to pay on legitimate wind damage claims. Rather than paying the claims they should have paid out of their own corporate pockets, insurance companies sent those bills to the American taxpayer via the National Flood Insurance Program. Taylor believes that Congress should investigate the extent to which the NFIP’s $17 billion of red ink is due to such fraudulent claims to determine and hold the appropriate parties accountable for any legal wrongdoing. Continue reading “Breaking: US Representative Taylor Releases PR on AIG”

New Developments in USA v Warr: Watch that tongue young lady…..

From the sound of things yesterday at the Federal Courthouse in Gulfport, Team Warr is churning while the good ol Team USA was burning. Based on what we know to this point my general feeling remains the FEMA charges will prove problematic for the Warrs rather than the others. One thing is for certain, this is NOT “a run-of-the-mill Katrina fraud case” despite Ms Williams protestations to the contrary. From the sound of things she evidently had started her day with a big bowl of Wheaties.  Anita Lee filed the Sun Herald story:

Prosecutors must reveal the types of false statements they have accused Mayor Brent Warr and his wife, Laura, of making to secure FEMA relief after Hurricane Katrina, U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Roper ruled during a hearing Tuesday.

Roper decided the Warrs are entitled to know the “categories” of information they allegedly falsified for their beachfront house, such as repairs, living expenses or personal property destruction. Roper ordered the information turned over within 10 days.

Roper also said prosecutors must give the Warrs the names of “co-conspirators” and “aiders and abetters” mentioned throughout a 16-count indictment that charges them with Katrina and insurance fraud. The names are due 30 days before trial. Continue reading “New Developments in USA v Warr: Watch that tongue young lady…..”

No Respect for Judge Berrigan……

At least not in Campo v Allstate where the 5th Circuit reversed her summary judgment ruling in favor of Allstate.  This is not the first time Judge Berrigan’s shoddy judicial work in the Louisiana Eastern District has graced our pages. It would be nice if some of these judges would take time to LEARN the law before they rule in favor of their insurance company bar buddies.

Our congrats to Perry Nicosia who secured for the Campos their day in court.