(almost) Breaking News – Trial date set for Rigsby Qui Tam

My computer broke before I could post the breaking news (hence the “almost”).  $%#&  Now, I’m broke; $%#&  However, Sop (and everyone else who saw the Katrina survivor I typed on until today) will tell you that I’ve needed a new computer at least as long as he’s known me.

I’ve got one now…it looks a lot like the trip to the beach I was planning because I didn’t  just buy one, I bought two and an external hard drive that backs up what I put on them (and will  hold more than I’ll have to save before placing  my order with Walmart) – but enough of that and on to the (almost) breaking news.

Rigsby qui tam is going to trial. December 1 is the date…2010 is the year – according to the scheduling order locked in my old computer.

It’s been a long day.  I started shopping after lunch but didn’t have everything working until an hour or so before midnight.  So, tomorrow Scarlett (or maybe the next day) I’ll come up with the scheduling order and update this post.  Meanwhile, let us all ponder WTF is the reason there will be no trial on the Rigsby qui tam claim until the sixth year following Hurricane Katrina.

The GAO does some more cussin’ and discussin’ on the National Flood Insurance Program

When I began blogging to what would become Slabbed my knowledge of complex finance was exceeded only by my ignorance of how the political process really worked.  What I found from my perch here in Soggy Bottom is that talking aka cussin’ and discussin’ dominates the process. And besides all the talking that goes on inside the beltway there is a mirror conversation that happens on the outside, in places like Yahoo Allstate finance message board and in Sheila Brinbaum speeches where alternate realities are peddled out of economic self interest.

Beyond the shilling however the Government Accountability Office has been looking at the NFIP and their findings tell the real story, of a program abused by private for profit insurers with no oversight on part of FEMA. For instance in September 2007 the GAO found:

FEMA’s payments to WYO insurance companies for operating costs ranged from more than a third to almost two-thirds of the total premiums paid by policyholders to the NFIP for fiscal years 2004 through 2006……

The approach FEMA uses to determine operating costs for WYO insurance companies, rooted in policies negotiated and established about 25 years ago, cannot ensure that payments are based on reasonable estimates of actual expenses because actual expenses incurred by the companies for their services to the NFIP are not considered. Although it has authority to do so, FEMA does not collect data on actual WYO flood insurance expenses that could provide a basis for insuring that the WYO payments are based on a reasonable estimate of actual expenses.

Fast forward to December 2007 and another GAO report which found FEMA asleep at the switch and a program structures to create “an inherent conflict of interest”:

Insurance coverage gaps and claims uncertainties can arise when coverage for hurricane damage is divided among multiple insurance policies. Coverage for hurricanes generally requires more than one policy because private homeowners policies generally exclude flood damage. But the extent of coverage under each policy depends on the cause of the damages, as determined through the claims adjustment process and the policy terms that cover a particular type of damage. This process is further complicated when the damaged property is subjected to a combination of high winds and flooding and evidence at the damage scene is limited. Other claims concerns can arise on such properties when the same insurer serves as both NFIP’s write-your-own (WYO) insurer and the property-casualty (wind) insurer. In such cases, the same company is responsible for determining damages and losses to itself and to NFIP, creating an inherent conflict of interest.

And the GAO continued looking at the program most recently with the issuance of this report dated last month. The professionals at GAO continue to find a program operated with little oversight and no internal controls: Continue reading “The GAO does some more cussin’ and discussin’ on the National Flood Insurance Program”

Weatherly v State Farm: The Farm tried to quash the Beno recordings

But alas those damming transcripts I posted late yesterday and today were ruled relevant by Judge Fallon. Personally I hope, should Congress hold hearings in conjunction with the reauthorization of the NFIP, that Ms Beno be called to DC to further illuminate and expand on what she told the Weatherly’s PI. I don’t know how much but I strongly suspect this case settled out for many times over the Weatherly’s policy limits to keep the certain to be bad jury verdict out of the media. So while we don’t have a verdict on the record we do have the phone transcripts and tapes which should never be confused with an illegal wiretap. Continue reading “Weatherly v State Farm: The Farm tried to quash the Beno recordings”

A view from the inside of State Farm’s call center Part Deux: “you just always had the feeling that something wasn

The people on the post Katrina coast had the same feeling though it was not confined to State Farm as we continue with the transcript of the Weatherly family’s PI’s talk with former State Farm call center employee / insurance adjuster Lorrie Beno:

A. You know, and I ran it on my house here just to see, because I just built a house and I thought that thing is coming in really high, I don’t have enough insurance on my house and it was pricing it a lot more to rebuild it, but they were – I don’t know. They wanted to pay them off on those policies. They said things to us like we got to get money into these people’s hands, it’s going to take a while to get to these wind policies, we’ve got to get some money in their hands, and that’s what they did, they paid them off on the flood, and we all kind of rolled our eyes, because we were going yeah, you want to get money into their hands that belongs to someone else, you know, as long as someone else is paying the bill, it’s good.I don’t know, you know, there were a lot of people at State Farm that were really good, honest, people, but you just always had the feeling that something wasn’t right there. I don’t trust the carriers anyways, I never have.

The public has definitely caught on to the not trusting insurer thang after their outrageous behavior here after the storm. With the first interview concluded and the PI finding Ms Beno quite the honest, open and chatty type, after consultation with the Weatherly’s legal team, a second phone call was in order and it is there we pick back up: Continue reading “A view from the inside of State Farm’s call center Part Deux: “you just always had the feeling that something wasn”

A view from the inside of State Farm’s call center: “I think the companies screw over people regularly.” Lorrie Beno, Welcome to Slabbed

Q. …….Would you be willing to chat with him briefly about this? He just has a much better grip on the issues in this case and I think that it would be more helpful to him to talk directly to you.

A. Wow. I’m kind of torn here. I do this – I’m in this business because I like to see that people get every dime they’re entitled to and that’s what gives me satisfaction in this job. I think the companies screw over people regularly. On the other hand, I have had my neighbor suing me for four years on an easement that’s been in existence since 1920. I have been abused by a whole number of attorneys including the judge who likes to keep his docket padded and that’s why we’re in this situation.

Q. I understand.

A. So right now, I have really had my fill of attorneys and don’t care to help one out. I wouldn’t help one cross a busy street right now.

The litigants on the post katrina coast know exactly where State Farm adjuster Lorrie Beno is coming from with those remarks which were transcribed from the recording of the phone coversations she had with a private investigator hired by the Weatherly family in their fight against State Farm. We seen our fair share of judges (mostly former insurance defense lawyers) who don’t follow the law or abuse elderly policyholders like Magistrate Walker has Mrs Politz in her suit against Nationwide. We’ve seen lawyers with questionable ethics like Scot Spragins and his sidekick Lucky Tucker of Hickman, Goza and Spragins abuse the court system and flaunt court orders earning fees from State Farm. I could go on and on giving many other examples but let’s visit back with Miss Beno as she describes how State Farm adjusted flood claims:

A. I don’t know how it was handled on the wind at all.

Q. Um-hum.

A. The only thing I can tell him, which he probably already knows, is find out that adjustor has been an adjustor.

Q. Right.

A. Because of the laws that are made that people are screaming to see their adjustor immediately, they hire off the street and give them some little short training course and make them an adjustor and get them a temporary license and send them out. Continue reading “A view from the inside of State Farm’s call center: “I think the companies screw over people regularly.” Lorrie Beno, Welcome to Slabbed”

The first Slabbed Legal Confab was a success

And then some in my opinion. Many thanks to Steve who organized the meeting space  We had 5 policyholder lawyers representing 5 different firms from both sides of the state line come compare notes. I think everyone learned something.

For my part it brought back memories of the sultry sounding women that man the Farm’s call centers. Many of these highly seasoned claims professionals could have lucrative careers in the 900 numbers IMHO.

Meantime we’re working to get our hands on one of them call center depos to find out Continue reading “The first Slabbed Legal Confab was a success”

Slabbed Daily Weekend Edition: Wind of Katrina Repost

A dispute of material fact ~ Rigsby qui tam.The Winds of Katrina

Part 1 – The Setup Segment

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfoR8EuSQLk] Continue reading “Slabbed Daily Weekend Edition: Wind of Katrina Repost”

Quote of the day

From our own Steve as left on yesterday’s Sun Herald story on the Rigsby sisters getting their day in court:

A very nice picture of Judge Senter and the girls. I want to see one of Edward Rust in an orange jumpsuit being transported to Parchman for the rest of his life.

Meantime that sound you heard from the self proclaimed Katrina litigation expert’s office was vomit hitting the floor. Meantime baby bro is rumored to be taking this latest turn of events very hard.

Our boy has a soulmate in Ginger Berrigan who also never met a murderer or insurance company she failed to like. After seeing Spragins and Tucker in action along with these clowns please someone tell me there are lawyers in Oxford that aren’t complete blowhards.


The Sun Herald picks up the coverage of Judge Senter’s decision in Ex Rel Rigsby

Michael Newsome has the Sun Herald story:

A federal judge ruled Monday that whistleblowers Cori and Kerri Rigsby can testify in the lawsuit the sisters brought against State Farm alleging the insurer defrauded the government through claims filed after Hurricane Katrina.

U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. also asked State Farm Monday to turn over details of certain claims that the company filed through the National Flood Insurance Program. The Rigsbys’ suit alleged the company defrauded the federal government by wrongfully denying homeowner’s insurance claims and shifting the burden for the storm’s damage to the taxpayer-funded NFIP.

A previous order in a different case had prohibited the two from testifying in civil suits against State Farm, but the Risgbys had asked Senter whether that would apply to the current proceedings. Senter said the matter at hand was substantially different than previous actions. He said the two, who worked as insurance adjusters for E.A. Renfroe, a company State Farm used after Katrina, “have relevant knowledge” and should be permitted to testify in all further proceedings. Continue reading “The Sun Herald picks up the coverage of Judge Senter’s decision in Ex Rel Rigsby”

Play it again Sam. No Amount of PR will cover what insurers did to the people here after Katrina.

However, that doesn’t stop Sam’s man of integrity, Robert Hartwig’s and his spin meisters at the Insurance (mis)Information Institute, from dismissing a recent Consumer Reports survey that found half of the Katrina impacted residents that responded had trouble with their insurer with a full 26% saying they were under paid. The National Underwriter has the story and related III spin (h/t Editilla):

Half of Consumer Reports’ readers who filed insurance claims resulting from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 said they had problems with their insurer, the magazine reported.

In the September issue of the consumer watchdog’s magazine, the organization says 26 percent of its readers also complained that they were paid too little for their claims.

“A disaster tests everyone, and in the eyes of our readers insures often failed that test,” the magazine said. Continue reading “Play it again Sam. No Amount of PR will cover what insurers did to the people here after Katrina.”