Fluff over substance at WLOX. David Vincent thinks Ed Rust is ignorant of what the company he runs is doing

You had to know on the subject of State Farm’s proposed rate increase that someone in the media would display an incredible amount of ignorance and make an ass of themselves. David Vincent of WLOX took the plunge with today’s editorial which at its heart has the premise that Ed Rust and his mafia in Bloomington don’t know what is going on down here. While we’re amused at the insult implied in Vincent’s piece that the man that sits on the Board of Directors of a media heavyweight in McGraw Hill and who runs the nations largest retail insurer in State Farm has no idea what his company has done to the Mississippi Coast, we’re saddened Mr Vincent passed on a more serious treatment of this very serious topic that has hindered the recovery of the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast.

We encourage the top leaders of State Farm to examine the plight of our area first hand and then really question whether such a rate increase is needed. Thousands of South Mississippi residents have been State Farm customers for years and they would like to continue. Our local state farm agents are in the same boat as we are, and really only the messenger in this rate hike.

Top State Farm leaders need to make the trip from Illinois to the coast and not just send in the government relations or public relations pros. We would hope State Farm Insurance Company’s top leaders would come to these hearings and learn the plight of coast residents.

Cyveillance solutionsDave here is a news flash for you buddy, we can’t break wind on Slabbed without the people at Cyveillance taking note and reporting our reporting to corporate security in Bloomington. (Not that we lack visits from State Farm Corporate either)

The insurance sector is fiercely competitive. And in the wake of recent financial setbacks, solvency pressures and governance scandals, it is striving to improve risk management. Concerns facing the industry include growing challenges from regulation, new competitors, technological change and product innovation.

Companies in the industry are clearly innovating technologically. They see the potential in the online channel for maintaining customer loyalty and capturing new markets. In this era of heightened Web security and cyber crime, risk management needs to extend to online operations too.

Protect Confidential Data and Sharpen Operations

We ensure vigilance against unauthorized access to financial, customer, or transactional information — whether it is mandated by Gramm Leach Bliley Act or a state data privacy and notification law, such as CA-1386 to protect the online channel and preserve customer trust and the company brand.

Cyveillance also optimizes agent and franchisee performance and compliance to gain operational efficiencies and cost savings. What’s more Cyber Intelligence can often thwart unexpected legal costs that might be associated with its advanced warning of impending risks.

I don’t think Ed Rust has the sack to attend a public meeting regarding his company’s insurance rate hike here on the coast, especially in light of what they did to their policyholders here after Katrina. And besides, that is what his boy Mike Chaney is for anyhow.

Until lost folks like Dave understand they are dealing with adults that understand exactly what they are doing, they will be useless to finding solutions to the insurance crisis that has engulfed coastal America. Dave and his pollyanna editorial gets an F from the editorial board at Slabbed.


12 thoughts on “Fluff over substance at WLOX. David Vincent thinks Ed Rust is ignorant of what the company he runs is doing”

  1. I have competed with State Farm for over forty years. I always found them a very worthy competitor thet operated at a high level of integrity from a sales standpoint. They have always been “in bred” and close to the vest. In my view they do not handle adversity as well as other carriers as they have had little experience with it. They have taken it on the chin recently and not doing a very good job of handlig it. I noticed they had 29 of the 70 or so total losses in the Myrtle Beach fires this past April. That is another hit.

    Being a mutual company they do not have to be as transparent as stock insurance companies. Due to this they are not used to all the scrutiny they are now receiving. One might also question that for more years I can count a Rust is the best person in the organization to be leading it.

  2. Dave Vincent is employed by a company that sells expensive advertising, bought by monied corporations. SF is a company that buys expensive advertising to teach people to think they’re in the risk transference business. Both companies are inherently phony in this respect: Dave’s company pretends its in the “news” business, SF pretends its in the risk transference business. Together they form a profit symbiosis which works best when SF keeps buying the advertising and in return the media company pledges “as long as we can count on you to buy, we won’t do anything overt to injure your image.”

  3. Excellent comments. Sup’s point about the Rust family dynasty can’t be understated, Ed Rust is the son of the son of Adlai and all three men have now run State Farm for 55 consecutive years. I found this supplement to a 1999 Business Week article which detailed the legal problems State Farm was having back in 1999:

    When the top job at State Farm Mutual Insurance Co. opened up in 1985, Edward B. Rust Jr. didn’t seem to have all the right credentials for the position. Only 35 years old at the time, he had started as a trainee at the No. 1 property insurer immediately after he received his degree from Southern Methodist University’s graduate business school in 1975. But Rust had one qualification other candidates lacked: His father was the outgoing chairman, Edward B. Rust Sr.

    At State Farm, lineage counts for a lot. The company was founded in 1922 by retired farmer George Mecherle, who passed on the presidency to his son Ramond in 1937. When Ramond gave up the post in 1954, it passed to his father’s right-hand man, Adlai Rust, whose son and grandson have followed in his footsteps.

    This tight-knit family rule has certainly given State Farm a strong sense of corporate mission. Unlike other insurers, the company has largely resisted the pressure to sell other financial services. Instead, it sticks to what it knows best: offering reasonably priced auto and home insurance. ”They don’t throw the long bomb, they just move the ball ahead slowly and steadily,” says one industry analyst.

    ”A RELIGION.” But some outsiders say the Rust dynasty has also created a culture that, while intensely loyal, is inbred and hostile to change. ”State Farm is a religion,” says New York City attorney Eugene Anderson, who specializes in suing insurance companies. True believers in the company, he argues, are ”sometimes capable of outrageous antisocial conduct.” Hot air from a plaintiffs’ attorney? Perhaps. But State Farm’s critics have been able to convince a lot of juries that there’s something amiss in Bloomington.

    As a general rule we don’t call out the nonfinancial traditional media here at Slabbed (The national financial media are fancy hookers after all) but on an issue this important to the Mississippi coast we’re making an exception. The people here on the Mississippi coast may not know the difference between a loss ratio and a current ratio but they know when they have been had by a State Farm owned insurance commissioner and the company he has so diligently protected.

    Finally we’ve never said anything publically but we were cyber attacked on one occasion with a referral source being blocked with the message, “this website contains viruses…” In a way it was true as we are infected with the “virus” of knowledge which has as its main symptom an incurable quest for justice.


  4. Though none of this matters much, except in the most perjorative and gossipy way, Rust the lesser is an SMU lawyer. SMU Dallas is a pricey finishing school for the scions of capitalist heavyweights. SMU females are enrolled for breeding stock, and thus serve an important role in protecting legacy wealth. As to SF itself, in the end a corporation is of course only as moral or immoral as the people who run it. The US has been in severe moral decline probably since WWII, but the rate of descent in recent decades is nearing warp speed. Rust is just a product of his age, an era where corporate profits are expressed in multiples of billions. Lionized predators of the celebrated guilded age, Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Gould and the like, look like farm boys playing sand lot ball in comparison to the Goldman Sachs and Big Insurance of today. Rust and his cronies love phrases like “our corporate culture,” and “our corporate family.” This of course is pimping — just as W bumper stickers, flag lapel pins, conspicuous religiosity and “family values” are. Dallas has a huge contingent of business types who pretend they’re super religious patriots, because man oh man do it produce the greenback. It’s no surprise that young Rust was finished out in Dallas at SMU. The only difference between “culture” and “cult” is 3 silly little letters.

  5. My pleasure Editilla. In today’s day and age the media stranglehold small market outfits like WLOX had over the flow of information is over. Further, if they make asses out of themselves it is across the globe faster than you can beg Ed Rust to come to the coast.

    Speaking of people that made asses of themselves anyone seen Marsha Thompson lately? Neither elephants nor Sops forget….

    I’m behind you lightsaber drawn. It is coming Tom, Snake Farm style straight up the azz

    I miss my impersonators. CaptIan reads us but never comments.


  6. I stand corrected in my first impression of this editorial of WLOX. I believed the confusion on the part of WLOX to be a lack of understanding of the intent of State Farm to continue to inflict harm to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to gain a political advantage in Washington, DC. I think WLOX understands what is going on, they have chosen to take their own best course of action for the political storm which has been raging on the Mississippi Gulf Coast since Katrina entered our lives. This is disappointing to say the least. I find it hard to be critical of WLOX but in this case I feel I have no choice.

    I am disappointed to say the least. I do note the advertisinng budget of insurance companies have grown to be a multi-billion dollar revenue stream for media outlets and promises to be one of the few bright spots of future income for the traditional media outlets. I guess it was I who misunderstood the political vs economic realities of the situation, and I stand regrettably corrected.

    Thanks for cueing me in SOP and juriscribe

  7. “Follow the Money” would be an excellent life skills seminar for school children to learn how you interpret people’s motives, ethics and loyalty oaths, i.e., moral relativism in the modern world. The L-O-X State Farm tango — ad dollars for soft journalism — is but one small example of sell-out. Our democracy today is life-threatened by astounding sell-outs contaminating the judicial, legislative and executive branches of government. Some examples:

    (1) Purchased judges, as in the notorious Caperton v. Massey Coal Co. case. Determined to overturn at any cost a 50M jury verdict against it, Massey “purchased” for 3 million bucks the chief judge seat on the W. Virg. Sup. Court. Despite this astonishing act of corporate corruption . . . (wait, could we be confused here . . . isn’t this Bolivia . . . or Mexico we’re talking about) . . . the current US Sup. Court managed by only a 5-4 vote to disqualify the pathetic pimp “judge” (Brent Benjamin) who Massey Coal bought, ran and installed on the state’s highest court. If they were alive today to witness this shit, former supreme court justices like Hugo Black, Oliver Wendell Holmes and Benjamin Cardozo would triple stroke. Those who follow the Miss Sup. Court remember how our court was purchased by corporate lobbyists and doctors. The so-called “US Chamber of Commerce” — a cess pool of lobbyists armed with mountains of corporate cash — have in the last 5 years purchased multiple seats on our own Miss. Sup. Court. Want names? Well, I’d suggest starting with Jess Dickinson and look as well at the other opinion writers who incessantly rule for: (a) their own political donors; (b) big insurance; (c) big banking; (d) big medical, etc. It ain’t too hard to spot them;

    (2) Purchased legislative bodies overrun by lobbyists handing out sacks of money. Too many examples to name. And, if that weren’t enough, we have tenured senators like Mitch McConnell, aka Mitch $. McConnell Inc. running around Washington boasting that he

  8. It makes you wonder how much money of the 500 million Mr. Rust has raised for the Bush Library. I bet when SMU got heat about the Bush Library State Farm was there…

    Bill says:
    SMU is the perfect place for the Bush Library. Bush and Cheney were both residents of Highland Park, as is SMU. SMU is known as a school for snobs and social climbers, like Bush and Cheney, that care more about money and status than the well being of the people. Let the horrible remains of the Bush legacy sully the reputation of a great city that would allow that kind of trash.


  9. So true, the purchased judgeship up there got SF out of a billion dollar judgment, Avery v. SF, which had won at trial and affirmed on intermediate appeal.

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