Insurance costs hit home, for all of us – including the good neighbor and LA Insurance Commissioner Donelon, too

“One thing is certain.  The more we all spend on insurance, that’s less money that we spend on other things, like cars, and refrigerators, and clothing.  Until the problem is solved, our recovery will never be complete…”

WLOX reporter Doug Walker hit the road for a week in January to learn more about the insurance situation and found Insurance costs hit home, for all of us.

During my travels, I met a widow whose insurance bill has climbed from $2000 a year in 2004 to more than $7000 now.  Another homeowner was told his insurance was going up from $2400 a year to $6300.  He finally got a policy through an independent broker with Lloyd’s of London for $4000.  The list goes on and on.

Indeed, the list does go on and on and, as Walker points out, insurance cost is not just a Mississippi issue.  State Farm found that out yesterday and Rebecca Mowbray caught the story for the Times Picayune – Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon rejects 19 percent statewide rate increase request by State Farm.

“This is an out-and-out rejection,” Donelon said. “We’re so far apart, we don’t feel like there’s a reasonable chance for compromise.”

State Farm, which is free to submit a new request, said that it was stunned and disappointed by the rejection…

If the request had been granted, State Farm would have been able to collect an additional $67.6 million from its customers in Louisiana. (emphasis added)

State Farm’s requested increase would have pulled $67,600,000 from Louisiana’s economy.  Calculated for the items listed in Walker’s post,  there would be  2380 fewer new cars purchased or 56,333 new refrigerators sitting in stores – or, worse yet,  the 781,403 school-age Who Dat’s would not be wearing a replica of Drew Brees’ Super Bowl jersey.

Donelon’s rejection is the culmination of a battle that has been brewing over the past year over State Farm’s use of a hurricane computer model that seems to project a need for much higher rates than its competitors. Continue reading “Insurance costs hit home, for all of us – including the good neighbor and LA Insurance Commissioner Donelon, too”

AROD files motion for reconsideration of his detention without bond

Slabbed reported on Tuesday that Ashton was remanded to custody without benefit of bond. Yesterday his “standby counsel” filed a motion for reconsideration. The location where Ashton was being held was disclosed in the motion. He is down in the Parish.

If the judge lets him out Ashton essentially agreed to house arrest. In the motion (linked below the fold) we also find:

On February 3, 2010, Mr. O’Dwyer was seen by Dr. C. Lei, a psychiatrist who attends inmates at the St. Bernard Parish Prison, the facility wherein Mr. O’Dwyer has been housed since January 30, 2010. Dr. Lei found Mr. O’Dwyer in a calm state of mind with no suicidal or homicidal ideation. Continue reading “AROD files motion for reconsideration of his detention without bond”

Jim Brown on the challenges facing NOLA mayor elect Mitch Landrieu

Thursday, February 11, 2010
New Orleans, Louisiana


What a week for Mayor-elect Mitch Landrieu! How could anyone create a better scenario to begin rebuilding and renewal in New Orleans? An overwhelming first primary victory, the saints win the Super bowl, and Mardi Gras just days away. The new Mayor is on an unbelievable roll right now with accolades raining down on Landrieu and the city of New Orleans. But what do you do when the cheering stops, the crowds go home, and the street sweepers move in? Can all the good will generated this week be harnessed and contained? How do you keep hopes alive for so many who have been so disappointed over the breakdown and failure of the New Orleans political leadership in recent years?

The problem goes deeper than merely casting aside the shadow of Ray Nagin. Sure, he will go down in history as one of the worst and most dysfunctional leaders in the city’s history. They were talking about Ray when the called New Orleans the city that care forgot. He just didn’t seem to give a damn. His useless junkets all over the world, his massive waste of taxpayer dollars, and his incompetent staff all add up to a stained legacy that Landrieu will have to quickly wipe away and bury.

In his first press conference just hours after his resounding victory, Landrieu put crime prevention on the front burner as his top priority – and with full justification. New Orleans is known throughout the world as one of the worst American cities for violent crime. For years, there have been more murders in New Orleans than in cities several times larger. Baton Rouge, which has grown to almost the size of New Orleans, has one third the murder rate. Continue reading “Jim Brown on the challenges facing NOLA mayor elect Mitch Landrieu”

Let’s talk bad faith insurer Prime Insurance Syndicate and Appraisal

A few weeks back I was contacted by a journalist inquiring if we knew anything about a small time non-admitted carrier based out of Utah, Prime Insurance Syndicate as they had plastered a press release all over the internet trumpeting a jury verdict down here in their favor as something unique and GASP they found the local jury to be very fair. The press release was so over the top we did some checking and after pulling the case up on PACER we decided it was not worth wasting time or space here on Slabbed covering. Insurers have won several verdicts here including some cases we profiled in Aiken and Bossier so we considered the source and moved on. Then in one of those famous serendipitous Slabbed moments I ran across an article in Claims Magazine which covered the verdict. As the blue collar retirees that were through my office yesterday giving me their tax information would say let tackle this for shits and giggles. We begin with last month’s press release:

Prime Insurance Syndicate, Inc. was successfully defended in a Hurricane Katrina lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. This is believed to be the first jury verdict in Mississippi exonerating an insurer in a Hurricane Katrina claim.

After six days of trial, the jury unanimously rendered a defense/zero verdict on January 19, 2010. The Plaintiffs’ complaint, filed in October 2007, alleged bad faith refusal to pay the insurance claim, willful and negligent breach of contract, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing and other claims, for which Plaintiffs claimed over $7 million in compensatory and punitive damages. The jury returned a defense/zero verdict, finding that Prime Insurance Syndicate, Inc. did not breach its contract with the Plaintiffs.

A challenging case in the post-Katrina environment, Prime had already paid everything that was owed under the policy and had come to an agreement with the Plaintiff’s own representative.

Prime withdrew from the INEX Insurance Exchange on December 31, 2009. Continue reading “Let’s talk bad faith insurer Prime Insurance Syndicate and Appraisal”