…and the good news is premium growth slows – but Mississippi and Alabama still paying more for insurance

Post-Katrina homesite, Mobile Press Register

Jeff Amy covered both bases with similar stories in both the Pascagoula and Mobile editions of the Press RegisterAlabama homeowners, according to Army’s story, have gone from paying 10 percent less than the national average in 2002 to 10 percent more in 2007.

“Satisfied is probably not the right word, but we’re comfortable with where we are compared to the other coastal states,” said Alabama Insurance Commissioner Jim Ridling.

Of course he’s comfortable,  look at what happened to the homeowners next door in Mississippithe State went from paying 13 percent more than the national average in 2002 to paying 24 percent more in 2007.

Mississippi’s not so comfortable Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney told Amy “Rates are going to continue to go up in Mississippi.”

Though the data isn’t in, Chaney said he thinks rates also rose in 2008 and 2009 because of increases granted in 2007 to Allstate and Nationwide. Continue reading “…and the good news is premium growth slows – but Mississippi and Alabama still paying more for insurance”

Brrrr – MID throws Allstate’s requested rate increase out in the cold

Officials say the Mississippi Insurance Commission has rejected a company’s request to increase rates 65.1 percent on more than 50,000 homes statewide.

Mississippi denies Allstate rate increase makes a great headline; but there is more to the Clarion Ledger story:

Deputy Insurance Commissioner Mark Haire says the rejection order was sent Thursday to AllState Property and Casualty Insurance Co. of Northbrook, Ill.

Haire said Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney made the decision after specialists reviewed the request and found the large increase was not justified.

The requested increase would have covered 51,097 homeowners.

As with the initial denial of State Farm’s request, this is not the end of the story:

Haire said AllState has the option of having a hearing on the matter or filing a new request for a lower increase.

Brrrrr.

Go figure! Mississippi has nation’s seventh-most-expensive homeowners insurance and lowest median household income

Rebecca Mowbray reported Louisiana homeowners insurance is nation’s third-most-expensive, study says in Sunday’s Times Picayune.

Louisiana remains the third most expensive homeowners insurance market in the nation behind Florida and Texas, according to newly released data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Mississippi ranked seventh.  Expanding the NAIC data with median family income during the reporting period shows Mississippi and Louisiana in last and next-to-last place on a ranked listing of states when state median household income is considered.

Mowbray points out policyholders actually pay more because the numbers do not reflect the cost of flood insurance, which is sold as separate policy. Continue reading “Go figure! Mississippi has nation’s seventh-most-expensive homeowners insurance and lowest median household income”

Is Chaney the Grinch who stole insurance industry’s Christmas?

He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! Maybe everyday doesn’t have to be Christmas for insurers who want higher rates for the shore.  Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means zones are no more!

They’re finding out now that no Christmas is coming! They’re just waking up, I know just what they’ll do. Their mouths will hang open a minute or two, then the Whos down in Whoville will all cry, “Boo Hoo.”

“We won’t take zone filings for the time being. I think the larger carriers have abused that privilege. We’re trying to bring some reasonableness to how they handle their rates.” Continue reading “Is Chaney the Grinch who stole insurance industry’s Christmas?”

The Sun Herald expresses some disappointment at the Commish and his State Farm rate hike.

We weren’t disappointed in Mr Chaney’s latest one bit here at Slabbed mainly because we knew what our favorite captured insurance regulator would be doing with this latest Farm rate up. The comments in yesterday’s story and today’s Op-Ed about Mr Chaney being a puppet for big insurance pretty much sums up local popular opinion:

You tell your boss you want a 45 percent raise, but you are unwilling to do any extra work to get it. Your boss, fearing the loss of your services, manages to scrape up enough money to offer you a 19.5 percent pay increase and begs you to stay. You take the 19.5, but you make it clear that you are “disappointed” and will do less work.

Fantasy?

Not if you are an insurance company doing business in Mississippi.

Beginning in mid-February, State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. has Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney’s permission to raise homeowner insurance rates 19.5 percent in the three Coast counties. State Farm had asked for a 45 percent rate increase and said it was “disappointed” not to get it.

The higher rates will apply only to current policyholders since State Farm is not adding to the more than 20,000 customers it insures against wind damage in Hancock, Harrison or Jackson counties. In fact, State Farm plans to drop wind coverage from 1,800 policies in surge-prone areas. Continue reading “The Sun Herald expresses some disappointment at the Commish and his State Farm rate hike.”

…and the score in the State Farm game was 45-19.5…Allstate 65-0 next game in town

Beginning in mid-February, State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. will raise homeowner insurance rates 19.5 percent in the three Coast counties…Allstate is requesting a 65 percent rate hike statewide.

Anita Lee has the story on rising insurance rates for the Sun Herald.

Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney approved the rate increase, rejecting State Farm’s request for a 45 percent rate hike along the Coast. New rates will apply only for current policyholders because State Farm is writing no new business in the three Coast counties…The Mississippi Insurance Department has asked for additional information from Allstate in reviewing the rate proposal. Chaney’s office did the same with State Farm before agreeing to the lower increase.

State Farm already had raised rates in the rest of Mississippi by 3.9 percent. Continue reading “…and the score in the State Farm game was 45-19.5…Allstate 65-0 next game in town”

Low tide, rising rates sink all ships

The study is expected to have many benefits. For one, it would give leaders a clear cost-to-benefit analysis. As important, the wind mitigation study would allow for systematic improvements in the hurricane resistance of buildings in the six counties on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Stone, Pearl River and George) by utilizing wind-resistant construction techniques to reduce property damage and/or loss.

This would result in a significant reduction in insurance premiums, as well as reduce the negative economic impact of a hurricane on the entire state and its citizens, the MID said.

Florida’s mitigation discount experience suggests any premium reduction in Mississippi will be short-lived, according to the latest news from Tallahassee.

In the coming months, hundreds of thousands of Florida homeowners will see insurance bills increase.  And many others will open their mailboxes and get the insurance industry’s version of the pink slip, forcing them to buy coverage from the state or turn to companies they might never have heard of. Continue reading “Low tide, rising rates sink all ships”

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”

State Farm to Coast: Get ready to grab yer ankles

STATE FARM TO COAST:

FUGETTABOUDIT, YA WANT ‘DA POLICY, GET ‘DA 45%

We’ll talk State Farm in a minute. It’s a small pleasure to me that readers of Slabbed can tell you in a single sentence why we’re being devoured by insurance companies – they operate regional monopolies, and keep them going by purchasing judges, legislative bodies, and regulators who could take away the anti-trust exemptions. Coached by people like McKinsey & Co., we know how big insurers follow a scripted Machiavellian model:

risk transference is sales pretext only;

the objective is profits;

claims threaten profits;

policyholder dollars go to defeat, not pay claims;

↑ premiums + ↓ scope of coverage = ↑ profits.

America is being eaten from within. Wall Street pigged-out and bankrupted our treasury. Health insurance pigged-out and drove consumers to go uninsured and file bankruptcy in record numbers (62% of all). Banks pigged-out and destroyed home values and credit markets, and auto makers cowboyed a world class manufacturing business into oblivion. On the legal side, so-called “pro business” types – mere bribe payers to me – replaced the jury system with forced arbitration, repealed punitive damage law and bought off the appeals courts. If our Constitution was a car note, I’d say we’re “upside down.”

At the moment, the Machiavellian health insurance model is under attack. In recent months, health insurance monopolies have forked out $380 million in new Congressional bribes to protect their profit model. Their business model: sell a promise to cover medical bills, exclude most medical needs and all pre-existing, don’t pay claims, keep the money. It’s a simple but solid racketeering strategy that spits out money like an ATM machine run amuck. In the seven years from 2000 to 2007, profits rose 428%, while insurers steadily shrank coverage.

Ok, on to State Farm’s latest. Continue reading “State Farm to Coast: Get ready to grab yer ankles”

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”