Meet good government citizen/activist Margie Seeman part deux: Are whistleblowers in Jefferson Parish being silenced?

You betcha they are folks. We are taught from a young age it is not good to be a “tattle tale”. So what happens to whistleblowers? Slabbed reader James Barbieri, a whistleblower that is now retired from  the World Bank shared that bit of unpleasantness with the Slabbed nation back in January via his legal treatise:

While the subject matter of this note is a legal claim, the “real” subject matter of whistleblower litigation is the whistleblower; a modern day tragic hero. While the law ostensibly protects and/or rewards the whistleblower, statistics show that whistleblowers usually experience personal and financial destruction. To talk about the Rigsbys‟ legal claim without discussing their personal plight (which is the common plight of most whistleblowers) would be unconscionable.

C. Fred Alford a professor at the University of Maryland (College Park) is an expert on whistle blowers and their subsequent misery. “Somewhere between half and two-thirds of whistleblowers lose their jobs… … Not only do most whistleblowers get fired, but they rarely get their jobs back. Most never work in the field again. …..Of the several dozen whistleblowers I have talked with, most lost their houses. Many lost their families. … Most whistleblowers will suffer from depression and alcoholism. … half went bankrupt.”

Somewhere in that depressing narrative lies the reason we’re stepping up to help both in the False Claims Act case against State Farm as well as those that speak out on the corruption in Jefferson Parish government.

In this clip from the last Parish Council meeting Miss Seeman mentions several whistleblowers including Lonnie Robinson and the rumored destruction of public records. Continue reading “Meet good government citizen/activist Margie Seeman part deux: Are whistleblowers in Jefferson Parish being silenced?”

Blessed be the Slabbed. Let's revisit State Farm's departure from the NFIP from the perspecitve of agents that compete with State Farm.

Slabbed traces its roots to the broad topic of finance and economics and the smaller topic of insurance, especially how it doesn’t function well when large multi national companies with an anti trust exemption decide to put the ol’ boot to the throat of an area, in this case the Katrina impacted Gulf Coast. It has truly been a labor of love and I’m gratified that many folks within the industry have seen past the talking points promulgated by industry trade groups and taken time to truly understand how basic economic not only applies to insurance but also how anti-competitive practices actually hurt the industry as a whole. Unfortunately there are also those who judge a book by its cover and despite being honest themselves can’t help themselves trying to defend the indefensible taking on the sins of their competitors in the process.

Off blog I’ve had the pleasure of communicating with risk managers, agents, adjusters and the home office people with several major insurers who invariably find that we agree far more than we disagree despite the rhetoric. One thing I learned early on is that few within the industry have any sort of respect for the average state insurance commissioner. No one respects the proverbial waterboy in the business world and since it is the business world from where I hail, many people who have taken the time to contact us off blog have found that in many ways we’re one of the team, which is also what makes Slabbed so dangerous to insurers like State Farm.

So much has changed since we began Slabbed as the American public has now tangibly suffered the consequences of blind worship of the free market gods as our financial system was imploded by same, lead off the cliff by a global insurance company with an anti trust exemption in AIG. The price of regulatory capture, a topic I’ve written about more times than I can count is now on display across the Northern Gulf of Mexico in BP’s Oil spill disaster. Luminaries such as Alan Greenspan have seen their legacies literally go up in smoke while corrupt pols like Senator Chris Dodd leave DC with their tails between their legs. Economics, at least the theories to which I generally adhere, do not know political boundary.

I say all of this because to my knowledge we were the first blog to highlight Paige St John’s story for the Herald Tribune which announced that State Farm was leaving the NFIP WYO program. In the insurance world, when the nation’s largest P&C carrier pulls out of a gravy train federal program such is huge news. Or so I thought. Continue reading “Blessed be the Slabbed. Let's revisit State Farm's departure from the NFIP from the perspecitve of agents that compete with State Farm.”

Tuesday Music: This is what happened the last time the Brits f*cked with New Orleans

You guys are going to need another plan of attack. Blaming the victims is a tried and true tactic, in fact insurer State Farm mastered the maneuver down here little under 5 years ago.

In any event Jarvis Deberry has been there and done that and is not amused:

To illustrate that damage to Louisiana has been overstated, reporter Sharon Churcher drops in on the Vu-Doo Lounge in Lafourche Parish where she observes a fisherman blasting BP while buying his friends a round of Bud Light.

Share “The large amounts of beer being consumed made it clear,” she writes, “… that the Lounge’s patrons still had some source of income.”

But please don’t use that anecdote as proof that coastal Louisianians were doing well. To illustrate the opposite point, she cites the figure that 16 percent of Grand Isle residents were living beneath the poverty line. “The rotted teeth and prematurely aged faces of most of those I meet lead me to believe the real figure may be double that.” Continue reading “Tuesday Music: This is what happened the last time the Brits f*cked with New Orleans”