Dear Mr President We Still Have Insurance Problems: Gene Taylor Writes a Letter to the Prez

Congressman Gene Taylor
U.S. House of Representatives
Fourth District of Mississippi


2269 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-5772
Fax (202) 225-7074

For Immediate Release
Contact: Ana Maria Rosato (202) 253-1308
October 13, 2009

Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) Urges President Obama to Reform National Flood Insurance Program, Act on Multiple Peril Insurance legislation 

Bay St. Louis, Miss. — With the President’s upcoming visit to New Orleans on October 15, 2009, Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) wrote Mr. Obama urging the Administration to reform the National Flood Insurance Program and revisit the Multiple Peril Insurance Act of 2009, his proposed solution to the homeowner insurance crisis that is sweeping America’s homeowners throughout the Gulf and Atlantic coastal states. Rep. Taylor urged the Administration to engage in “more actively in reforming the National Flood Insurance Program, providing for better disaster insurance coverage, and improving other disaster response and recovery programs.”

Rep. Taylor’s letter opened by reminding President Obama that since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Mississippi Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005, he has not yet visited the area either as a Senator, a candidate for President, or as President. In the letter, the Mississippi Congressman stated:

“Immediately after [Hurricane] Katrina, we learned that some of the largest insurance companies in America were not going to honor their [homeowner] policies.” Continue reading “Dear Mr President We Still Have Insurance Problems: Gene Taylor Writes a Letter to the Prez”

Gene Taylor on Protecting Coastal Homeowners

Protecting Homeowners the Right Course of Action

By Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.)

Four years after Hurricane Katrina tore through the Mississippi Gulf Coast, rebuilding homes and communities continues at a snail’s pace. The protection we thought was there to ensure our speedy recovery is the obstacle that stands in our way: homeowner insurance—both its cost and its payment, or the lack thereof.

Skyrocketing cost of homeowner protection

Along the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s three counties—Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson, the residential real estate market demonstrates the ripple effect this insurance crisis is having in our economy and recovery. One large coastal real estate firm recently informed my office that the number of residential contracts that fall through at closing has risen dramatically. Before Katrina, the number was less than 10%. Today, that number has more than tripled to nearly 1/3 of all contracts. The reason? The skyrocketing cost of homeowner’s insurance.

When the bank includes the exorbitant insurance premiums into the debt-ratio equation for the mortgage loan, an increasing number of prospective buyers no longer qualify for the loan. This is so prevalent that coastal realtors are advising potential buyers to shop for insurance before they begin to look for a home.

Commercial insurance rates have also soared for small business owners. In 2007, the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce reported that its members had seen an average increase in premiums of 346 percent with the range between 300 to nearly 670 percent.

Continue reading “Gene Taylor on Protecting Coastal Homeowners”

Confessions of a Former Insurance PR Executive Part 1: Big Insurance and the GOP Playbook

The industry has always tried to make Americans think that government-run systems are the worst thing that could possibly happen to them, that if you even consider that, you’re heading down on the slippery slope towards socialism. So they have used scare tactics for years and years and years, to keep that from happening………it could potentially reduce the profits of these big companies. So that is their biggest concern.

I sat spell bound reading the confessions of a former insurance PR executive who recently went on the air revealing all the dirty tricks of the trade.

A. That means that part of the effort to discredit this film was to use lobbyists and their own staff to go onto Capitol Hill and say, “Look, you don’t want to believe this……..You don’t want to talk about it. You don’t want to endorse it. And if you do, we can make things tough for you.”

Q: How?

A: By running ads, commercials in your home district when you’re running for reelection, not contributing to your campaigns again, or contributing to your competitor.

Q: This is fascinating. You know, “Build awareness among centrist Democratic policy organizations–”

A: Right.

Q: “–including the Democratic Leadership Council.”

A: Absolutely.

As we’ve repeatedly pointed out here on slabbed big insurance spreads the money around, mostly to the GOP but also to some key Democrats who are more than willing to do their bidding for some cold hard campaign ca$h.

Q: So you would actually hear politicians mouth the talking points that had been circulated by the industry to discredit…….

A: Absolutely.

Q: You’d hear ordinary people talking that. And politicians as well, right?

A: Absolutely.

Q: So your plan worked.

A: It worked beautifully. Continue reading “Confessions of a Former Insurance PR Executive Part 1: Big Insurance and the GOP Playbook”

Gene Taylor Talks NFIP and Wind Insurance on the House floor

FRANK, B. (D-MA): I yield myself three minutes and I yield for question to our colleague from Mississippi, who has been with our support on our committee, a major proponent for protecting the people who he represents in the area of wind and elsewhere. I yield to the gentleman.

Could it be the gentleman from Massachusetts took the letter from Napolitano with a grain of salt? Many thanks to Nationwide attorney Christopher Landau for enlightening the country on exactly how his client Nationwide fleeced the US taxpayers.


Slabbed Daily July 22-24. Lets tie a few things together

ying-yangThere have been a good number of news tidbits that do not necessarily constitute a post here on Slabbed on their own but when taken together tie up several loose ends and lend context to a story that does merit it’s own post in Mike Chaney’s recent insurance forum held last Thursday and Friday here on the coast.  So let’s backtrack a week and shake us up slabbed insurance cocktail by beginning with Anita Lee’s coverage of day 2:

Gov. Haley Barbour joined the coastal insurance debate Friday, telling an audience he believes regional compacts would be the best way to regulate wind coverage in coastal zones from Texas to Maine.

Barbour introduced The Travelers Insurance Cos. president, Brian MacLean, to explain the company’s proposal for improving the coast insurance market. Insurers have pulled back from coastlines in recent years, leaving state-run wind pools to fill the void.

Wind pools were intended as insurers of last resort, but their market shares have grown to levels that experts agree are unsustainable. Insurance works by spreading risk, not concentrating it.

Haley has been conspicuously absent from the insurance scene refusing to comment on the litigation while offering cheap lip service to Gene Taylor’s multi peril bill. I suspect he and the State GOP has been searching for a way to throw a bone to the people on the coast that helped elect him while working hard to preserve GOP big business bonafides with the campaign money machine that is big insurance. Continue reading “Slabbed Daily July 22-24. Lets tie a few things together”

Slabbed Daily Weekend Edition June 20/21. Dang its hot!

With no rain in sight either. My sprinklers have received quite a workout of late. Since I have a few minutes here are some news links I’ve been squirreling away. First up is our own Gene Taylor appears in several places today in the news. First up is an article from the Journal of South Mississippi Business on HR 1264 which contains extensive quotes from Brian Martin of Gene’s staff. The article was evidently written before Janet Napolitano’s letter in oopposition to Barney Frank was released.

“The current system that we have, the private insurance company or the Mississippi wind pool covers the wind. The federal government covers the flood, but it is sold by the private company. In the case of Katrina, the flood insurance program allowed the adjuster for the insurance company to go out and handle the flood claim and the wind claim. Well, there is an inherent conflict of interest when the insurance company is deciding if it is flooding that the tax payers are going to pay for or if it is wind damage that my company is going to pay for.”

After Katrina, Martin said, many of the insurance companies paid the flood insurance right away but left the wind claim open and basically forced people to litigate.

It continues to haunt the Coast.

“It is a huge issue and it has really hindered development across the board on residential construction,” said John Ruble, a member of the Home Builders Association of the Mississippi Coast. “A lot of people qualify for the note, but when they figure their taxes, the ad valorem taxes and the insurance, particularly the wind insurance, the numbers are no longer manageable.”

Ruble said that not having affordable wind coverage hurts low and middle income people the most. He said that some companies will write wind coverage for people with expensive homes who also write auto and other insurance with the same carrier, but people with less expensive homes often are unable to find affordable wind insurance.

“This not only affects residential construction but also commercial construction,” Ruble said. “If you ride up and down the beach, you do not see strip centers going in along Eisenhower Drive or where you used to see these strip centers where you have traffic count because by the time they build the building and try to insure it, what they have to charge by the square foot to amortize the building, the tenants cannot afford it because they can’t afford the insurance on it.”

I also found Gene in the news, this time in Politico. (h/t Alan Lange):

Democratic opposition to a controversial climate change bill has House Speaker Nancy Pelosi fishing for votes in the most unfriendly of waters: the House Republican caucus.

Pelosi, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and Rep. Ed Markey met with 11 moderate House Republicans on Thursday, hoping to pick up enough votes to get the bill passed by the middle of next month.

“Generally, they only talk to us when they need something,” said Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois, who told Pelosi that he feared the bill would raise costs in his coal-dependent district.

Members, aides and journalists crowded outside Pelosi’s offices Thursday as a revolving door of key lawmakers ducked in and out of meetings between votes. Soon after the Republicans exited, House Agricultural Committee Chairman Collin Peterson lumbered into the speaker’s office to discuss his concerns about the climate bill. Peterson and other moderate Democrats are threatening to marshal nearly 50 “no” votes unless changes are made to protect farmers and rural consumers.

“It’s just dumb idea on top of dumb idea, in my opinion,” bill opponent Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) said as he lingered outside Pelosi’s office. “I fail to see the merits of it.” Continue reading “Slabbed Daily Weekend Edition June 20/21. Dang its hot!”

Gene Taylor Comments on Corban and Claims Dumping

Congressman Gene Taylor
U.S. House of Representatives
Fourth District of Mississippi

2269 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-5772
Fax (202) 225-7074

For Immediate Release
Contact: Ana Maria Rosato
(202) 253-1308

June 10, 2009

Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.): Insurance Company USAA
publicly admits shifting costs to NFIP, taxpayers
Pass my Multiple Peril Insurance Act to protect
coastal homeowners and America’s taxpayers

In oral arguments before the Mississippi Supreme Court on Tuesday, insurance company USAA admitted that it shifted its own costs to the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). In the first wind vs. water case to reach Mississippi’s state’s high court, the lower court asked the high court to interpret the “anti-concurrent causation” clause that is often buried inside homeowner contracts. The lower state court requested the high court interpret the burden of proof before the case is heard on the facts.

At issue is whether the insurance company bears the burden of proof to determine the extent of property damage caused by wind or whether the company can void a homeowner’s wind coverage simply because water came on the property at some point. USAA asked the court not to require the company to pay any wind damage based on the fact that the property also incurred some water damage. The Gulf Coast suffered up to four hours of damage from hurricane force winds before any flooding began.

“Asking the court to sanctify the company’s decision not to live up to its fiduciary responsibility to the federal taxpayers and homeowners is outrageous,” responded Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.). “I vigorously renew my call for the U.S. Senate to follow the lead of the U.S. House of Representatives and pass my Multiple Peril Insurance Act. This act eliminates all opportunities for insurance companies to continue to betray Coastal American homeowners and taxpayers.”

NFIP is financed through homeowner policyholder premiums, which are subsidized with federal tax dollars. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the NFIP ran a $17.5 billion deficit while the Property & Casualty Industry boasted $108 billion in profits in 2005 and 2006. To date, Congress has yet to determine the extent to which the NFIP’s billion dollar deficit may have come from fraudulent claims that the insurance companies deliberately submitted.

“What we learned from Katrina is that insurance companies have an inherent conflict of interest when it comes to adjusting flood claims on properties that also sustained wind damage. Over and over and over again what we learned after Katrina,” Taylor continued “is that companies like State Farm and Nationwide put out memos directing staff to resolve this conflict of interest in the company’s favor and to the detriment America’s homeowners and taxpayers. USAA’s court admission confirms this as well.” Continue reading “Gene Taylor Comments on Corban and Claims Dumping”

Barack Obama on Multiperil Insurance: I was for it before I was against it….

Barack Obama is proving himself a typical lying sack of shit politician that will say anything to get votes and then break promises once elected by backtracking on Gene Taylor’s multi-peril insurance bill. Playing the candidates off each other, our good friend and occasional contributor Steve was instrumental in getting that email from Hillary in support of Gene Taylor’s Multiperil insurance bill in the process landing in the AP report after he confronted former Prez Bill Clinton during his March 2008 campaign visit to the coast.

There was another news report published the day after Mr Bills visit  by Anita Lee at the Sun Herald who interviewed Obama when he was in Mississippi campaigning. Lets go back in time to that old story and see if you don’t agree with me that Obama has hoodwinked us all and in the process revealed himself as a common politician more in love with Wall Street ca$h and the crooks at AIG than the little people who elected him. There is no link to this article but it is reprinted here with the permission of Ms Lee and the Sun Herald (who have our thanks for sharing this with us):

March 9, 2008 Sunday

Candidates have recovery plans;
Insurance, FEMA among issues addressed

ANITA LEE, [email protected]

SECTION: A; Pg. 10

Republican nominee John McCain is the only candidate who has visited the Mississippi Coast since Hurricane Katrina, but the Democratic contenders have turned their attention here in preparation for a competitive primary on Tuesday.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama previously offered passing references to the devastation in Mississippi as they outlined recovery plans for the New Orleans area, although Bill Clinton has visited and raised funds for the Coast. Both Clintons were campaigning in Mississippi at week’s end, with Obama planing a visit Monday. Neither scheduled stops on the Coast, but Bill Clinton did visit once again on Saturday. Continue reading “Barack Obama on Multiperil Insurance: I was for it before I was against it….”

HR 1264 is done. Stick a fork in it.

Given that Mr Obama hails from the home state of both State Farm and Allstate this should surprise no one. The bottom line is it is status quo for wind insurance thus if you’re trapped in the wind pool keep grabbing yer ankles as there is no relief in sight.

Before I link the Sun Herald story a few observations:

  • The house oversight committee for the Department of Homeland Security is chaired by Mississippi congressman Bennie Thompson yet Gene could not get a meeting with Janet Napolitano despite trying for two months.
  • Nancy Pelosi’s clout with the Obama administration looks to be minuscule to nonexistent.
  • Any meaningful regulatory reform with respect to the insurance industry is at least 4 years off. Continue reading “HR 1264 is done. Stick a fork in it.”

Catching up a week’s worth of insurance news: The windpool and a Sun Herald Editorial

I noted the Sun Herald ran an insurance related editorial and covered the continuing fight to get another 40 million dollar taxpayer subsidy from the legislature to the windpool this session. We’ll start with the heavily commented upon editorial that ran Thursday:

To appreciate the urgency of finding a way to lower residential insurance rates on the Coast, consider where our economy would be if a large segment of South Mississippians were not paying hundreds and thousands of additional dollars in premiums each year.

Much of that money would be circulating.

It could be used to make car payments. It could be used to make home improvements. It could be used to make countless purchases.

It could be used to pay for medical and dental services now being put on hold due to the expense.

Surely every sector of our economy — wholesale as well as retail, dining and entertainment as well as professional services — would be bolstered, if not booming.

Instead, insurance costs drain our economy of needed cash. Continue reading “Catching up a week’s worth of insurance news: The windpool and a Sun Herald Editorial”