Jim Brown ain’t backing down on AIG’s Insolvency: Captured Regulators and Jackassery at the NAICS

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Baton Rouge, Louisiana


At first, it was the big financial guys who were “too big to fail” that were getting all that bailout money. Billions to banks, insurance companies, and then to auto makers. If you are old enough to remember back to the depression, the popular song of the suffering epitomized what was taking place:

“Once I built a railroad, I made it run, made it race against time.

Once I built a railroad, now it’s done. Brother, can you spare a dime?”

Well you can sure tell that inflation kicked in. Instead of financial panhandlers asking passersby for a dime, they head to Washington and ask for a spare $50 billion or so.

At the front of the line is A.I.G., Louisiana’s biggest insurance boondoggle that this column wrote about last week. It is hands down the biggest single financial disaster in Louisiana history of a company with such a huge Louisiana presence. This is a company that recently posted the largest quarterly loss in American Corporate history-some $61.7 billion. To put this sum in perspective, A.I.G. was losing more than $27 million every hour. That’s $465,000 every minute.

Now one would assume that there are regulatory mechanisms in place to protect the weary and leery average citizen. And in fact, the supposed white knights are the various state insurance commissioners who took great umbrage of the accusations made in last week’s column of how perilous the financial condition of A.I. G. happens to be. “Misinformation is being circulated” with “inappropriate assertions based on incomplete information that ultimately hurt both policyholders and taxpayers,” the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ press release lamented. The release went on to say that “A.I.G. companies are financially sound and fully able to pay claims.” Continue reading “Jim Brown ain’t backing down on AIG’s Insolvency: Captured Regulators and Jackassery at the NAICS”

Rigsby qui tam – what’s hot, what’s not, what’s up?

Judge Senter’s Opinion covered a lot of ground and left only one issue outstanding:

The next four State Farm motions seek the exclusion of the Relators’ four expert witnesses: Patrick J. Fitzpatrick, Ph.D. [294]; Keith G. Blackwell, Ph.D. [296]; R. Ralph Sinno, Ph.D. [298]; and David J. Favre [300]. I will address the motions [294] [296] [298] [300] challenging the qualifications of the Relators’ expert witnesses in a separate opinion.

SLABBED has given these four motions little more than passing mention although we’ve covered State Farm’s backdoor approach attacking the credibility of these same witnesses in other cases.

Frankly, State Farm’s use of “demonstrative evidence” at the hearing made their motions “moo” to me (as in “bull$%&t”) and, instead, SLABBED posted State Farm plays video game at Rigsby qui tam hearing after noticing items on State Farm’s evidence list were contrary to an earlier Order that read in part:

Defendant will not be allowed to introduce “demonstrative evidence” under the guise of calling it a “supplement,” especially when it appears that the sole purpose for offering the “supplement” is not to fulfill a duty under the Federal or Local rules, but to avoid the Court’s prior ruling on a similar issue. Furthermore, placing the burden on Plaintiff at this late date to counter this material is unduly prejudicial.

That same thinking should apply to State Farm’s effort to disqualify experts who have testified in countless other cases.  However, in pulling the post to add the link to this one, I noticed something interesting related to what’s hot in Judge Senter’s Order

so I may know the outer limits of the potential claims involved in this
action, I will require State Farm to submit, in camera, a list containing the name of the insured, the address of the property, and the amount of flood insurance paid, for all SFIP claims that meet the following criteria…

We’ll get to the criteria after looking at these maps: Continue reading “Rigsby qui tam – what’s hot, what’s not, what’s up?”

Inc 500 reports insurer America’s fastest growing private company

…insurance isn’t just a numbers game. There’s humanity involved.

When the big insurers exited the Florida market, a start-up saw an opportunity…Read the story of the founding and growth of Northern Capital.

Once, a large garbage truck veered off the road and ran into a house we insured, demolishing a wall. The family was displaced — it was a tremendous hardship. It wasn’t our liability, but still, we had our claims crew out there within the hour, put up the family in a hotel, paid for the repairs ourselves, and then worked it out with the waste-management company. Things like that remind you that …insurance isn’t just a numbers game. There’s humanity involved.

Amazing!  Sop, I bet these guys would have taken care of customers if a trailer of trailer of chicken parts broke loose in a hurricane and demolished a wall of a house they insurered.   Homeowner insurers weren’t in there fighting for their customers after Katrina, they just let the NFIP cover the loss.

Meantime on the Farm up in Indiana

It was business as usual just a year after Katrina on the Farm in Indiana. Make no mistake, the insurance regulators in Indiana, like most in this country are captured. Unlike our own captured insurance commish the bunch in Indiana actually broke out the wet noodle though. The larger question is does any of this sound familar to those of us here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast? Claims Magazine has the May 2009 story:

As part of an agreement with the Indiana Department of Insurance (IDOI), State Farm will reevaluate close to 35,000 policyholder claim files and pay $275,000, which will be deposited into the State of Indiana’s General Fund.

Adopted by IDOI Commissioner Jim Atterholt, the agreement will mark the conclusion of the market conduct examination that began in March, 2007 after 200 State Farm policyholders lodged complaints. The examination, which focused on State Farm’s response to claims resulting from an April, 2006 hailstorm in Indianapolis, found no violations of state law. During the course of IDOI’s examination process, State Farm has already revisited and paid policyholders an additional $1,799,544. Continue reading “Meantime on the Farm up in Indiana”

Quote of the day

From our own Steve as left on yesterday’s Sun Herald story on the Rigsby sisters getting their day in court:

A very nice picture of Judge Senter and the girls. I want to see one of Edward Rust in an orange jumpsuit being transported to Parchman for the rest of his life.

Meantime that sound you heard from the self proclaimed Katrina litigation expert’s office was vomit hitting the floor. Meantime baby bro is rumored to be taking this latest turn of events very hard.

Our boy has a soulmate in Ginger Berrigan who also never met a murderer or insurance company she failed to like. After seeing Spragins and Tucker in action along with these clowns please someone tell me there are lawyers in Oxford that aren’t complete blowhards.


Spragins and Mullins launch State Farm’s new Gomer defense strategy hoping it will fly – right over Judge Walker’s head

Gaaw-aawl-ly. Spragins and Mullins come off like two Goobers.  They must think Judge Walker is dumb as rock to try the Gomer Strategy in cases with plaintiffs represented by Deborah Trotter or Judy Guice; but, that’s exactly what shows on the dockets of  Lizana v State Farm and Montet v State Farm and pops up on Bossier v State Farm, too. GFL!

Let’s start with Spragins’ Gomer Rebuttal to Opposition re: State Farm motions for a protective order in Lizanna and Montet :

The plaintiffs have responded to State Farm Fire’s motion for a protective order with the concern that the proposed protective order is a “blanket protective order.”

Paragraph 4 of the proposed Consent Protective Order clearly states that “confidential information” may be so designated on the face of the document. State Farm Fire has produced untold numbers of pages of documents in Katrina litigation marked “confidential,” and never had such designations challenged.

The proposed Consent Protective Order is a duplicate of hundreds of such orders entered in prior and current Katrina cases, both by consent and over objection. The response of the plaintiffs presents no new argument or information suggesting that in this particular case the proposed Consent Protective Order is in any way inappropriate.

Obviously thinking Walker can’t tell a hood ornament from a carburetor, State Farm offers the following offers the following as a concession: Continue reading “Spragins and Mullins launch State Farm’s new Gomer defense strategy hoping it will fly – right over Judge Walker’s head”