Not the legal concept of First Impression, just my first impression of Ex-regulators advising Allstate on rate increase: it has the ethical “whiff” of Lawyer Accused of Impersonating Client’s Dead Wife:
“In what could be a first, an Arizona attorney may face disciplinary action after an investigation found that she told a client she was channeling his dead wife, then lied about it during an unrelated disciplinary proceeding.
An Arizona Supreme Court hearing officer recently filed a report on the conduct of Charna Johnson, who began representing the client in 1999 in divorce proceedings after meeting him in a ballroom dancing class. The client’s wife committed suicide the following year and Johnson handled the probate matters.
Within days of the death, Johnson began telling her client that “his deceased wife Jan had ‘come’ to her and that Jan’s ‘spirit’ was ‘inside’ her and that she could communicate Jan’s thoughts,” according to the report. The client testified that Johnson pressured him to have a sexual relationship, although she told the investigator that the references to sex were coming from the deceased wife, not herself. The report recommends Johnson be suspended for six months.”
Allstate, on the other hand,channeled ” Mississippi’s former top insurance regulators” to guide the Company’s proposed 44% rate hike:
Former Insurance Commissioner George Dale and his top deputy, Lee Harrell, work in the Jackson offices of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz. Dale is not working on Allstate’s rate filing, but Harrell said he is part of the firm’s insurance team advising Allstate.
Harrell, who worked more than 16 years at the state’s Insurance Department, said Allstate needs an adequate rate in Mississippi. “That’s what we’re working on,” Harrell said. “I don’t know of anybody who has more experience than our firm in these matters.”Harrell said he could not discuss specifically what Baker Donelson is doing for Allstate. Harrell left the Insurance Department about three years ago, he said, because of the long hours at relatively low pay offered to attorneys…Dale is not an attorney, but Baker Donelson considers him an asset nonetheless. He is featured in a video on the firm’s website, where he is listed as a senior public policy advisor on insurance regulation, government and legislative matters.
The Baker Donelson firm’s website touts its insurance team’s experience:
“Insurance transactions are unique, with their own business and legal vocabulary and issues,” it says. “In addition, the insurance regulatory community is tight-knit and is largely controlled and influenced by a relatively small group of individuals…”
Current – and very much alive – Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney said he “will not approve a 44 percent rate increase for Allstate without a court order”. Time will tell if that statement was coming from Chaney or the former regulators speaking not from the grave but Baker Donelson.