Some friends are in the news today

Long Beach resident Kevin Buckel and United Policyholders executive director Amy Bach to be specific. Kevin’s website details his thus far fruitless pursuit of a statutory Policyholder Bill of Rights for Mississippians. It has been blocked in committee in the Senate by Sen. Eugene “Buck” Clarke, a GOP free market true believer over at the Big Rock Candy Mountain in Jackson.

We’ve also chronicaled Mr Buckel’s efforts at fostering transparency at the Mississippi Department of Insurance as he has taken our current Commish to court after the claims files used in the sham Market Conduct Study began under Mr Chaney’s predecessor turned insurance lobbyist George Dale as overseen by former Deputy Commish Lee Harrell who now works for State Farm law firm Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell and Berkowitz. Mr Chaney has thus far successfully stonewalled those efforts. Anita Lee picks up more recent events here:

A Coast policyholder is appealing to the state Supreme Court for access to Mississippi Insurance Department records that would show the dollar amount of Katrina claims denied by insurance companies.

Long Beach policyholder Kevin Buckel filed a written request in January 2009 for records showing the total amount of damages homeowners claimed, the total amount paid and the total amount denied by private property insurance companies. MID maintains the agency does not have the records.

United Policyholders of America is helping Buckel fund the appeal. Continue reading “Some friends are in the news today”

this little piggy went to mediation…and this little piggy

This little piggy went to market mediation,
This little piggy stayed at home,
This little piggy had roast beef got taken
This little piggy had none.
And this little piggy Presentation2 aCSC went “Wee wee wee” all the way home.

Evidence was produced showing State Farm staged the mediations in advance and actively concealed material evidence from homeowners during the “mediation” process.

Bam Bam’s Bonnet was full of bees and following his buzz about the MID mediation led to a hornet’s nest of information stirred up during State Farm’s  May 1, 2007 deposition of Kerri Rigsby in McIntosh v State Farm.  Attorney Dan Webb, counsel for State Farm, asked the questions:

Q. Do you recall being involved…in putting on mock mediation?
A. We did put on mock mediation, that is correct.
Q. Do you remember you doing anything related to that?
A. Yes.
Q. What part did you play?
A. …Oh, okay. Yes. When we started mediation, they — they asked that — I guess because I had done mediation in Florida, they asked that Cori and I role play mediation for the entire mediation team. Continue reading “this little piggy went to mediation…and this little piggy”

The ACC Bee Is Still In My Bonnet

ACC, the anti-concurrent cause issue, is burning up my head again. With health care insurance all the rage, it don’t hurt to remind ourselves how Big Insurance grew to be cracked-out body slammers. Most people don’t know that way back in 1945 the McCarran-Ferguson Act exempted Big Insurance (“Big-I”) from federal anti-trust law so long as long as the states “regulated” insurance. What a farce. Big-I and ISO hand out cash Tootsee Rolls to puppet commissioners and presto, before you know it, we’ve got regional, full-blown monopolies. Take health coverage: Wellpoint controls 71% of the Maine market; Blue Cross controls 90% of the North Dakota market and 100% of the Alabama market. All that said, keep your fingers crossed, the House Judiciary Committee (Senator Leahy) introduced an amendment to the health bill which would strip Big-I’s anti-trust exemption.

George Dale
George Dale

But, let’s revisit the magnolia ACC a minute. In prior posts, I talked about how Nationwide (probably with ISO’s help) quietly slipped the ACC into Mississippi in the ’80’s. By “slipped,” I mean they submitted a new policy form to the Commissioner for approval. Natch, it was instantly accepted. Recall, Mr Commissioner was indicted in ’94 for taking bribes from Big-I, but never went to trial. Undaunted, a mere 5 years later the legislative PEER committee caught him approving rate requests for State Farm, Allstate, Nationwide et al without any actuarial review. Over 380 rate requests, 59% of all, weren’t even looked at by actuaries.

MID Peer Report

Lee Harrell

  Some of you may recall that Dale’s deputy commissioner was the one who incessantly chatted with sycophantic law clerks overseeing Katrina, and probably caused the so-called “MID mediation plan” to be crammed down the throats of Katrina homeowners. Using Dale to the fullest, State Farm employed this sham mediation procedure to defraud hundreds and perhaps thousands of insureds. Evidence was produced showing State Farm staged the mediations in advance and actively concealed material evidence from homeowners during the “mediation” process. Continue reading “The ACC Bee Is Still In My Bonnet”

SLABBED Daily – April 19

The Mississippi Press headline Dale: Insurance needs change offered a glimmer of hope; but, to paraphrase the immortal words of former Texas governor Ann Richards, Poor George! He was born with a insurance money in his mouth!

The insurance industry must change as a result of Hurricane Katrina, but most of the solutions being offered on the coast are not the answer, former Insurance Commissioner George Dale said Thursday at a luncheon.

“The way insurance is being delivered today is not working,” Dale told members of the Southeast Mississippi chapter of National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors…

Dale said that one of the most popular proposed solutions to the insurance crisis on the coast is to offer a multi-peril option as part of the National Flood Insurance Program.

But he said that the national flood program built up more than $15 billion in debt during Katrina, and emphasized that this was without having to pay for wind-related damages.

Poor George! He still doesn’t get it.  The flood program did indeed pay for wind-related damages – and, the word for that is fraud. Continue reading “SLABBED Daily – April 19”

Be Sure to Mark Your Calendars….

Dr Ed Duett of Mississippi State has all the finest insurance crooks coming to speak at MSU’s annual insurance day set for April 23, 2009. Our readers may recall he brought in Rossie for I day 2008. This year’s list of crooks and charlatans is very impressive and includes a record number of participants with ties to companies under current federal investigation and/or hogs at the taxpayer TARP trough. The complete speaker list is here but I thought I’d summarize the various sessions for our reader’s convenience:

The Revolving Door Panel:

Mike Chaney, MS DOI
Jim Ridling, AL DOI
Scott Richardson, SC DOI
George Dale, Adams and Reese
Walter Bell, Chairman of Swiss Re America

What happened to Robert Wooley?

The White Collar Crime Panel:

Walter Bell, Chairman of Swiss Re America
Jay Barbour, Carroll, Warren & Parker
Lorrie Brouse, Regional Counsel, Allstate
Steve Iler, President, AIG Claims
Wade Sweat, Copeland, Cook, Taylor & Bush

The Policyholders, what policyholders? You mean those schmucks? Panel:

George Dale, Adams and Reese Continue reading “Be Sure to Mark Your Calendars….”

Joe Sam Owens on Commissioner Chaney: "If I didn't know he was the commissioner of insurance, I would have thought he worked for State Farm."

Pretty much sums up the feeling of the populace here in the wake of the release of the Mississippi Insurance Department’s State Farm Market Conduct Exam. Personally I’m grateful the commissioner ignored the results of his examiners own testing as it reveals him for the captured regulator he is. As Anita Lee reports others on the coast don’t feel quite the same way:

Policyholders’ attorneys wonder why the Insurance Department’s Market Conduct Examination of State Farm found the company underpaid claims, but stopped short of concluding the conduct was intentional.

“In lieu of finding this was an intentional decision by State Farm and holding them accountable for it,” said attorney William F. “Chip” Merlin, “they let them off the hook.”

The most contentious claims, and those the examination considered in detail, involved Coast properties destroyed by wind and water. In many cases State Farm denied payment, instead blaming storm surge covered by federal flood insurance. The market-conduct exam concluded that, of 800 claims files reviewed, 173 lacked documentation to show State Farm had fulfilled its obligation to fully investigate. Continue reading “Joe Sam Owens on Commissioner Chaney: "If I didn't know he was the commissioner of insurance, I would have thought he worked for State Farm."”

Joe Sam Owens on Commissioner Chaney: “If I didn’t know he was the commissioner of insurance, I would have thought he worked for State Farm.”

Pretty much sums up the feeling of the populace here in the wake of the release of the Mississippi Insurance Department’s State Farm Market Conduct Exam. Personally I’m grateful the commissioner ignored the results of his examiners own testing as it reveals him for the captured regulator he is. As Anita Lee reports others on the coast don’t feel quite the same way:

Policyholders’ attorneys wonder why the Insurance Department’s Market Conduct Examination of State Farm found the company underpaid claims, but stopped short of concluding the conduct was intentional.

“In lieu of finding this was an intentional decision by State Farm and holding them accountable for it,” said attorney William F. “Chip” Merlin, “they let them off the hook.”

The most contentious claims, and those the examination considered in detail, involved Coast properties destroyed by wind and water. In many cases State Farm denied payment, instead blaming storm surge covered by federal flood insurance. The market-conduct exam concluded that, of 800 claims files reviewed, 173 lacked documentation to show State Farm had fulfilled its obligation to fully investigate. Continue reading “Joe Sam Owens on Commissioner Chaney: “If I didn’t know he was the commissioner of insurance, I would have thought he worked for State Farm.””

Welcome to Slabbed Mr Moran and Our Condolences for the Way You Were Treated on the MID Farm…

Anita Lee has a way of finding the perfect example to illustrate the complex chain of events that has become the post Katrina experience on the coast. I have had far more ideas for posts than time to write them but I’ll lay my plans for this morning aside because Mr Moran’s story is too good to keep from our readers.

Before I get to the Anita’s report I’ll backtrack to set up the slabbed background for the story. It all started when Jim Hood announced he settled his State civil case against State Farm, kicking off the rather predictable shill response from the combo of partisan Jim Hood haters and insurance types. We weren’t shy about calling out the spinmeisters and their self serving revisionist history of those particular events by presenting less biased contemporary news accounts from the time.

What started as another Jim Hood cyber dog pile morphed to the ridiculous when former disgraced insurance commissioner George Dale and current commissioner Mike Chaney chimed in claiming Jim Hood deserved none of the credit for the second State Farm round of mediation and claims re evaluation saying the Mississippi Insurance Department deserved it.

The sheer stupidity of the pols claiming credit for what happened with State Farm after the storm lead us to visit the history beginning with the first MID mediation program which was deeply flawed and allowed for an officially sanctioned platform for insurers to fleece their policyholders. My remembrances from the time was the elderly were especially vulnerable to being taken advantage of by George Dale’s mediation process. Revisiting that issue also raised a legal question and Nowdy’s post and the resulting comments further illuminated why the slabbed largely viewed MID’s mediation as a sham. We continue to give George Dale and Mike Chaney at MID the credit they so publicly craved for helping a large insurance company screw the citizens of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

This leads us back to Anita Lee’s excellent account of Mr Roland Moran Continue reading “Welcome to Slabbed Mr Moran and Our Condolences for the Way You Were Treated on the MID Farm…”

Insurance Commissioners v Jim Hood Part Deux. Trumpet Sham Mediation, Forget About Woullard

My fellow slabbers we passed through the looking glass into wonderland yesterday as today’s Anita Lee report in the Sun Herald indicates.

This is manna from heaven for the slabbed as we finally have received a chance to set the record straight and to that extent we are grateful Mike Chaney is willing to insert his foot into his mouth so the story keeps churning. Our readers no doubt remember Mr Chaney’s declaration our wind insurance premiums are at nearly pre Katrina levels in the process confirming our suspicions he secretly visits the lemonade spring.

Nowdy’s excellent post yesterday gave a good account of the events surrounding the current controversy between Attorney General Hood and disgraced former insurance commissioner George Dale and his successor Mike Chaney. The short version of the story is that Dickie Scruggs and his Scruggs Katrina Group tried to work out a global settlement with State Farm for the remainder of the Katrina claims. State Farm wanted Jim Hood, whose office had open criminal and civil cases against them included so they could have a global solution to their legal problems in Mississippi. They hammered out an agreement which became known as Woullard after the case Woullard v State Farm. Jim Hood memorialized the Woullard settlement in his state court case, dropped his criminal investigation while the Farm and Dickie Scruggs presented their agreement to US District Court Judge Lt Senter for his approval. Continue reading “Insurance Commissioners v Jim Hood Part Deux. Trumpet Sham Mediation, Forget About Woullard”

Grab your hiking boots – time to wander from Perdigao v Adams & Reese to USA v Scruggs

If you find yourself lost as we wander from NOLA way up to the land of Faulker, worry not – this is not about changing the facts to fit the picture, it’s more of a sight-seeing trip to see if the facts fit the frame.

Among the comments made to the Perdiago update Sop posted today, were several about Perdiago’s allegations about Allstate and Robert Wooley, the former Louisiana insurance Commission who joined Adams & Reese. Take note of section 73 and these two sentences:

Notably absent from Wooley’s list ofpotential clients in his business plan was a “big fish” that was not already a client of the firm. The firm already represented State Farm, the largest homeowners’ insurer in the state. Continue reading “Grab your hiking boots – time to wander from Perdigao v Adams & Reese to USA v Scruggs”