There is one great thing that you men will all be able to say after this war is over and you are home once again. You may be thankful that twenty years from now when you are sitting by the fireplace with your grandson on your knee and he asks you what you did in the great World War II, you won’t have to cough, shift him to the other knee and say, “Well, your Granddaddy shoveled shit in Louisiana.” No, Sir, you can look him straight in the eye and say, “Son, your Granddaddy rode with the Great Third Army and a Son-of-a-Goddamned-Bitch named Georgie Patton!
Fastforward to the year 2009. Clowns like Jimbo truly are timeless: (H/T Editilla)
All insured real estate owners could be on the hook for a $95 million judgment against Louisiana’s state-backed insurance company, state Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said today.
Donelon said he’s considering several options to raise the money to post the bond. One option is to impose a new fee that would be borne by insured homeowners and commercial property owners.
The payment, due Monday, is required because the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. lost the first round of a class-action lawsuit in March. The suit, filed in Jefferson Parish on behalf of 18,573 policyholders, argued that the insurer took too long to pay claims after Hurricane Katrina. Citizens is appealing and the case is likely to end up with the state Supreme Court. Continue reading “$peaking of $hoveling $hit…..”
Yep he did. Keep pounding Jim, AIG policyholders need not also be bagholders too.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
INSURANCE DYSFUNCTION CONTINUES
Press reports, both nationally and at home, have confirmed what financial analysists and investigators have known for months. Louisiana continues to have the most dysfunctional insurance system and the worst insurance climate in the country. In almost every category, insurance rates are the highest nationwide. And just last week, the New York Times published a front page investigative report on major financial trouble involving Louisiana’s largest insurance company.
The American Insurance group (A.I.G.) does more insurance related business in Louisiana than any other company. A.I.G. recently received the largest bailout in history. Yet serious questions are being raised about insider swapping of both assets and liabilities among numerous A.I.G. subsidiaries. The Times article says A.I.G. is selling way too much insurance. “State insurance commissioners are supposed to keep insurers from writing new policies if in doubt that they can cover their claims,” the article concludes.
One of the voices raising alarms is former Louisiana chief insurance examiner W.O. Myrick. He was quoted extensively in the Times article, and has looked at a number of A.I.G. subsidiaries that do extensive business in Louisiana. W.O. was of great help in my initial days of taking over a deeply troubled department back in 1991. He assisted me in shutting down some 50 insolvent insurance companies. So he knows the territory, and when he says there is potential trouble, you can bet on it.
Remember now that we are talking not only about Louisiana’s largest company, but one that so far has received over $210 billion in federal bailout funds. That’s a lot of dough in anyone’s book. How much? Figure that $700 for you and each member of your family goes from the tax till to A.I.G. And since the government has to borrow the money, add in 10% for the next 30 years. We ain’t talkin’ chump change here. Continue reading “Jim Brown Joins Slabbed in Calling Out AIG: You’re Insolvent and We Know It”
I finished my first radio appearance a few minutes ago and thought the show went very well. Kevin Buckel was kind enough to call in explaining his public records lawsuit against the Commish as we covered a variety of insurance related topics from appraisal to the actual cost to insure a home here in the GO Zone. Now here is a months plus worth of insurance news with more to come. (H/t to Editilla and Alan Lange)
First up we have a trio of somewhat conflicting articles out of the Louisiana insurance market, which the Wall Street Journal editorial board held up as a stellar example of a well working state insurance market, while not mentioning Louisiana has some of the highest homeowner insurance rates in the country. I’ll start with the “good” news that Louisiana Citizens rates are dropping in Orleans Parish per the Times Picayune which cites “increased competition” as the reason:
As of May 1, homeowners policies in Orleans Parish will reflect a 9 percent decrease. The stripped down “dwelling” policies, which don’t include liability coverage, dropped 22 percent, said John Wortman, chief executive of the state-sponsored insurer of last resort.
“This is because the market rates have gone down and we follow the market place,” Wortman said.
Statewide, however, the average rate climbed 7 percent and homeowners rates also rose in St. Tammany and Jefferson parishes as well.
By law, Citizens must set its prices to match that of the most expensive insurer in each parish. Continue reading “Slabbed Daily Weekend Edition: June 6/7. Catching up on insurance news.”
I must be quick so I can get on the road to Buzzard Roost and there are several items that we need to cover so let’s start with the men and women on the Wall Street Journal’s Editorial board who evidently found a local source for psyclobin mushrooms (and consumed alot of tea) before they wrote this:
Mr. Crist’s behavior stands in contrast to that of Louisiana, of all places. Baton Rouge also established a Citizens insurer after Katrina but only as a “last resort.” Louisiana has a thriving private insurance market, in part because regulators have let companies adjust their rates. By law, Louisiana Citizens cannot offer competitive prices, save in a few high-risk coastal areas. From a peak of about 170,000 policies in 2007, it now holds about 130,000 (about what it had before Katrina) and is aiming to get below 100,000.
Note how these lit and hallucinating buffoons neglected to mention how many policies Louisiana Citizen’s had in 2004 and 2005 or the fact the guy running Louisiana Citizens (now under federal indictment) that entire time was paying his daughter’s prom bill with policyholder premiums. Maybe next time they should check with Jim Brown before they have their combo mushroom binges/editorial board meetings. Since Bob Bartley died the only thing I can add about the remaining folks in opinion at the WSJ is that you guys really suck.
Watching the cottage controversy unfold from afar I shake my head at the utter uselessness of the approach taken by certain of the affordable housing advocates. Nowdy, who happens to know a thing or two about these type issues, contends in our internal Slabbed editorial board meetings very real issues are being obscured by the yet “another Thompson/Barbour pissing contest” and I’m inclined to agree and in this case I don’t blame our Gov. It is simple economics; throwing money putting people without means into “affordable housing” does nothing to fix the larger problem. Good paying jobs makes housing affordable. Meantime we have renters that actually work full time who are wondering where they will live when the FEMA rental assistance program ends this month. To the extent the renters work, received no grant and have no shot at a freebie cottage they have my sympathies. And since they work they can’t spend time raising cain at local City council meetings which brings us back to the “uselessness”. Solutions to thorny issues lie in the advancement of knowledge and awareness. People of goodwill can genuinely disagree but that doesn’t mean they can’t work together trying to find workable solutions to hard issues. Sometimes the politicians don’t make it easy but I’ve found both the Bay and Waveland the city councils are listening to a variety of opinions and genuinely want to do what is best for the community. Continue reading “Around the GO Zone in 60 Seconds: Drinking ‘Shroom juice at the Wall Street Journal, Cottages, Community, Warr and Wind Pool”
I doubt there will be a comparable day of national day of celebration – or even a date that would have related significance – but I do believe there will come a time when policyholders are treated fairly without a post-event legal battle – and, in that regard, we in Mississippi, once again, have a movement in our midst.
Like all movements, this fight for policyholder rights has had its defining moments, its heroes and its victims – many unrecognized and even more to come, no doubt, before victory is won.
One of those unrecognized moments may prove to be the recent Louisiana court decision reported by Rebecca Mowbray: Appeals court finds that it was legal for homeowner to file suit after deadline.
A state appeals court opinion issued Jan. 7 says that it was legal for New Orleans homeowner Brenda Pitts to have filed a lawsuit against Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. months after the deadline for initiating litigation because a class action lawsuit had stopped the clock from running out. Continue reading “Policyholder rights – a movement in our midst”
What was scheduled as class action hearing on $35million Citizen’s settlement turned out to be a display of “no class” at all.
Rebecca Mowbray has the story – and I can’t help but wonder what she was thinking yesterday as she was typed Judge orders lawyer to jail after fight breaks out in Citizen’s class action hearing.
A fight broke out this morning at a hearing in a class action lawsuit against Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp., ending with one lawyer on the ground and another being ordered to spend the night in jail.
Attorneys J. Robert Ates and Madro Bandaries exchanged words at Orleans Parish Civil District Court, then suddenly appeared to be on the verge of a fistfight when Bandaries fell to the ground.
Some attorneys stepped in to break up the fight while others ran outside to alert security and find Judge Kern Reese, who is presiding over the hearing.
Reese ordered Ates to spend a night in jail and pay a fine of $100, despite his pleas to be allowed to offer his testimony. Ates, who is representing an objector to the proposed $35 million settlement, was taken away in handcuffs.
“The one thing I am not going to tolerate is lawyers being unprofessional,” Reese said after taking testimony from several witnesses to the fracas and concluding that Bandaries, who brokered the proposed settlement, had been attacked.
Today’s hearing, which is ongoing, is being held to determine the fairness of the proposed $35 million settlement of charges that Citizens didn’t handle claims quickly enough after Hurricane Katrina. If the settlement is found to be fair, it will pave the way for the settlement to be finalized.
Attorneys in a rival class action suit in Jefferson Parish say the settlement in New Orleans shorts policyholders and raids their effort. Their case has a summary judgment hearing scheduled for January and a trial date in March.
At this writing, Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is on the stand.
Will update as information becomes available.
Jim was kind enough to share this week’s column with us including fresh rumors from the Louisiana Department of Insurance that explains why they did not cooperate with the investigation that lead to the indictment of Citizens former CEO Terry Lisotta. – sop
Thursday, December 11th, 2008
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
LOUISIANA CITIZENS INSURANCE SCANDALS CONTINUE TO GROW
A year ago, it would have been hard to imagine that conditions at Citizens Property Insurance Company could get any worse. The state created and state run company was in debt by over $1 billion. The Rouge Business Report called Citizens the biggest financial disaster in the state’s history. But never underestimate the ability of some state agencies to make a dysfunctional situation go from bad to worse. The Board governing Citizens, that includes statewide elected officials, has shown little oversight of the Companies’ spending and management decisions, sparking not only criticism from the Legislative Auditor in Louisiana, but also provoking major investigations by both state and federal law-enforcement agencies.
The latest Citizens scandal boiled over last week when the former CEO was indicted with 14 counts of theft by fraud, filled with allegations that he spent more than $285,000 on questionable expenses including airline tickets, meals, retirement gifts and stays at lavish hotels. But his attorney said last week that his client is being singled out and “used as a scapegoat” in the poor management of the insurance company. Sources close to the investigation seemed to agree, saying that the latest indictments are just “the tip of the iceberg.”
The whole controversy has significantly elevated due to the resistance of Louisiana’s Insurance Commissioner to turning over some 2000 e-mails requested by the Legislative Auditor’s office. Continue reading “Jim Brown on Louisiana Citizen”
The Times Picayune is reporting the indictment of Terry Lisotta, former CEO of Louisiana’s state-operated insurance program.
Politics and law have a special relationship in Louisiana; so, I’ve linked a few background stories from former Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Brown’s site below the lead story for those who would like to know more.
A state grand jury today indicted the former chief executive officer of the state-operated Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. on 14 counts of theft following a year-long investigation by Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s office.
The grand jury returned the indictment against Terry Lisotta, who was criticized in two audits during the past 15 months by Legislative Auditor Steve Theriot’s office for ringing up more than $285,000 in expenses between 2003 and 2006 and charging the expenses to Citizens or two other state-related insurance entities.
Assistant Attorney General David Caldwell, the attorney general’s son and director of the public corruption and special prosecutions section of the office, did not rule out more indictments and said the investigations are ongoing. Continue reading “Breaking News: Former CEO of Louisiana Citizens Insurance Indicted”
Louisiana Citizens is high priced insurance and the gift that keeps on giving if you are Terry Lisotta: Legislative Auditor Steve Theriot was not amused:
The former head of Louisiana’s state-run homeowners property insurance program reported more than $285,000 in expenses from December 2003 to December 2006, including $106,579 in questionable spending for trips and possibly his daughter’s prom party, Legislative Auditor Steve Theriot said Monday.
In a 30-page audit, Theriot said that Terry Lisotta, who stepped down as head of the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. last year, rang up $52,247 for entertainment and travel “that appear both unnecessary and extravagant.”
The report said that Lisotta was reimbursed more than $19,162 for expenses he apparently did not incur and manufactured receipts to make them look legitimate.
The audit identified almost $48,000 of “questionable costs,” including a March 19, 2004 expenditure of $1,290.62 from a Sam’s Club in New Orleans for beer, chips, soft drinks, meats and other items. The audit said that there is no “documented public purpose for this expense.”
The audit said that Lisotta’s calendar indicated a “dance party for his daughter’s prom” Continue reading “Let the Policyholders Foot the Prom Bill: Crooks in Gucci Suits Louisiana Edition (Oh Yeah, Terry Lisotta Welcome to Slabbed)”