Slabbed news miscellany: Chip Merlin on the value of listening to other points of view, stealing beer and drinking what can’t be fenced, Swiss Re rings the Bell and the cash register, Michael Grimm to appear at the Silver Slipper in 2 free shows and “for sale” issue advocacy

I have a super busy day ahead but wanted to throw up a few links for the Slabbed Nation because I think we have another banner day shaping up here in cyberspace.  Let’s start with Chip Merlin’s blog where he writes about the value of listening to other points of view:

Slabbed is a blog that grates on those in the insurance industry, its legal counsel and proponents. My impression is that because those from the insurance industry do not like the criticism, positions and strong rhetoric, they stop reading Slabbed and read only those that criticize policyholder advocates, policyholders, and others who pander to the insurance industry. Nobody likes to be criticized or cast in the role of the villain. That is human nature. Yet, I agree with comedian Chris Rock, who stated that “anyone who makes up their mind before hearing the issue is a … fool.”

I was thinking of this while reading the August issue of the Insurance Fraud Letter by Barry Zalma. Zalma, like many in the insurance industry, takes great glee in publicizing when the well known consumer champions fall. I appreciate that those that make a living serving the insurance industry have an allegiance to it and a utilitarian need to pander to those that provide for their living. Still, those self righteous antidotes have worthy lessons and, within the rhetoric, there are often a few jewels. Zalma gave one in his recent newsletter

Chip may be surprised to learn that we are read religiously by certain insurers and insurance professionals though our industry traffic count did take a hit when they started filtering us in Bloomington.  His point is well taken though because we have experienced the other kind of reader as well; people so trapped by their beliefs and ideology they are incapable of seeing other viewpoints.  Chip has singled out Zalma in the past for doing just that, which is part of what makes today’s entry over at his blog so rich.

Next up is this AP story from the Sun Herald on the family that steals their beer together (and drinks up what can’t be fenced). The family was found passed out with the incriminating evidence.

Jeff Amy at the Mobile Press Register had an interesting story on the recent purchase of a $10MM parametric insurance policy from Swiss Re. This is interesting because former Alabama Insurance Commish Walter Bell went through the revolving door just over 2 years ago to become chairman of Swiss Re America. I suspect Swiss Re built some sort of chinese firewall to give Bell and the gang the culpable deniability they needed to pull off the transaction but we’re not buying in here at Slabbed. It smells, especially since the premium is 8% of the insured value.  Jeff has the skinny:

Officials who insure Alabama’s government property have agreed to pay $800,000 a year to one of the world’s largest reinsurers in exchange for up to $10 million in coverage if a strong hurricane hits.

The state plans to use the money to pay all or part of the deductible on its traditional property coverage, said Richard Cater, an attorney for the state Finance Department.

Insurer Swiss Re says it’s the first time that a U.S. state has bought such “parametric insurance,” which doesn’t pay for damage to particular property, but instead pays when a specific event occurs.

The state is paying Swiss Re for three years. Coverage started July 1.

Jeff’s entire report on this topic is well worth the read as he covers the revolving door aspect in detail.  He even managed to decipher my mangled question about the story as well which is a plus in my book since I often mangle questions.

Next up is our feel good topic here at Slabbed in Waveland singer Michael Grimm and his quest to get his grandparents out of their trailer and home to Waveland.  The Picayune Item had a great story on Michael, his grandparents and his upcoming free shows at the Silver Slipper Casino in Hancock County.  I’m not much on gambling and have not been to the Silver Slipper despite the consistent good reports I get on their restaurant (which is where you’ll find me almost exclusively at a casino).  Perhaps the wife and I will be able to go hear Michael sing.  Here is an excerpt from David Farrell’s report for the Picayune Item:

Singer Michael Grimm’s grandmother, Laura Butters, says Michael has moved into the semi-finals in competition on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” hit television show.

Butters lives in a trailer in Pine Grove Community seven miles west of Picayune.

Grimm also is scheduled to perform at the Silver Slipper Casino near Bay St. Louis at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 13 and Saturday, Aug. 14. Both engagements are free and will allow his local fans to see him in person.

“He still calls me every week,” Butters said, “and he said he was coming to see me when he performs at the Silver Slipper.”

Butters is a native of Waveland and she got custody of little Michael and his sister when Michael was four years old and raised both of them. Grimm told a national television audience when he first performed June 1 on “America’s Got Talent” that he and his sister would have probably been separated and raised as orphans had not his grandmother rescued them.

Grimm, who began singing and playing the piano with his grandmother at the age of 5, developed his talent, performed all along the Mississippi Gulf Coast and about 10 years ago made the move to Las Vegas. The singer is 30 years old.

He was a sensation when he first appeared on June 1 on “America’s Got Talent,” blowing away the judges and grabbing national attention……….

“I will be right there on the front row when he performs at the Silver Slipper,” said Laura Butters. “I am so proud of him.”

Said Silver Slipper COO John N. Ferrucci, “Michael’s incredibly talented. He’s a real credit to Waveland, South Mississippi and most importantly, his grandmother. Now, the whole country knows about him, and we’re glad to host his performance here at the Slipper.”

We all rooting for Michael on America’s Got Talent.

Finally I saw this Dan Eggan story in today’s WaPo about for sale issue advocacy in DC.  This story appealed to me on several levels, especially given my extensive experience as a stock market basher.  (I was once offered $15 per post and $7 per reply to stop bashing a penny stock pump and dump which I’m told is great money by those I know with knowledge of such things.)  The bottom line is whether it is stocks, TV ads, blogging or newspaper commentary there is money to be made in crafting the message, which is why I never bought into the contrived rule about never questioning another bloggers motivations. Simply put, it goes against all my cyber experience.

I also had to laugh because the carrot and stick approach used by the Institute for Energy Research in their negotiations with BP was also employed by a certain retired US Attorney and his blogging co author for a book that was released last year on the Scruggs scandal in an attempt to get interviews.

So while I passed on cashing in on the finance boards my life is much easier since I have full editorial control over my blogging. It also allows me to expose shills like Robert Hartwig at the Insurance Information Institute and his running buddies at other trade groups like the American Insurance Association for the corporate whores they are and do so from moral high ground. Good public policy can not have its foundations in the self-serving bullshit often peddled by these paid issue advocates. Today’s WaPo story illustrates the why.

I hope to be back a bit later with an oil spill roundup.

sop

2 thoughts on “Slabbed news miscellany: Chip Merlin on the value of listening to other points of view, stealing beer and drinking what can’t be fenced, Swiss Re rings the Bell and the cash register, Michael Grimm to appear at the Silver Slipper in 2 free shows and “for sale” issue advocacy”

  1. Great post Sop! Enjoyed that peek into Davy Jones’ locker, too! Would love to know more about the folks doing all that “dickin” around for State Farm in DC and Kentucky.

  2. Sop: I read Chip’s Blog entry today and its mention of SLABBED. Naturally, I “commented.” My comment was to the effect that (to the credit of SLABBED, of course) your site focuses on a variety of topics….not just insurance related issues (i.e., “WHERE IS THE G.D. FBI?” AROD – the Scruggs’ matters, etc.).

    Further, I pointed out the utmost respect and admiration I have for both you and Nowdy for “showering” us with such a first class site containing accurate and current information.

    Finally, I pointed out that – unlike other sites – SLABBED DOES NOT CENSOR its reader’s comments and there’s alot to be said for that! Besides “Freedom of the Press”, which I realize you do not have to follow, but the fact that you do speaks volumes about the integrity and sincerity of SLABBED and its “people.”

    HERE’S TO YOU, NOWDY, EVERYONE ELSE INVOLVED @ SLABBED!!! IN MY BOOK, YALL ARE #1!!! :)

    SHIRLEY HEFLIN

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