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”

And the beat does go on, as in the beat down of the taxpayers and the NFIP by shady insurers

As the Houston Chronicle illustrated in their 1st anniversary of Ike coverage, not only do the taxpayers get stuck with the wind claims insurers dump on the NFIP they also get stuck for the bill for the living expenses these all perils contracts should cover but never do. As a between the lines reader stated in an email:

What this article leaves unstated is that these lengthy disputes over causation ultimately cost federal taxpayers billions of dollars unnecessarily. The federal government pays for trailers, housing vouchers, subsidized loans, tax deductions, grants, and other benefits to assist displaced residents who are engaged in legal disputes with their insurers or who have unintentional gaps in their coverage despite buying all that was recommended by their insurance agents. Meanwhile, because of the delay in the housing recovery, the federal government subsidizes local governments, schools, hospitals, and businesses for extended periods of time until the local tax and consumer base can be restored.

Gang does any of this sound familiar? One key difference is without expedited claims Texas homeowners are having to go after both the NFIP and their wind insurer to be made whole on the coverage they were sold that in theory should fully cover their losses but rarely does without having to sue.

Life in a trailer in his driveway is a daily reminder of Hurricane Ike for Michael Amoroso.

After waiting months for a response from the National Flood Insurance Program, he was declined a bigger payment that he had hoped to use to rebuild.

For Amoroso and other homeowners like him, the storm did more than damage their property. The unrepaired houses and pending insurance claims are a daily test of their will.

“For months they didn’t even return my phone calls or e-mails,” said Amoroso, who plans to sue for more funds. “I am so fed up.” Continue reading “And the beat does go on, as in the beat down of the taxpayers and the NFIP by shady insurers”

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”

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 July 15: Dead Fish Edition

What a better way to remind the public about Mr Chaney’s upcoming insurance forum than to feature a warmup article about the massive pogey spill in the Mississippi sound and its accompanying pool of floating dead fish. Al Jones at the Sun Herald has the story:

Nearly half a million dead pogies were adrift Tuesday off Long Beach and Pass Christian.

An accident involving two Omega Protein pogy boats, based out of Pascagoula, resulted in a spill that sent an estimated 200,000 dead pogies, or menhaden, per boat into the water.

“Accidents do happen,’’ said Walter “Tiny” Chataginer, chief of law enforcement for the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. “We are not sure what happened and how they got dumped.’’

Next up we’ll circle back to JR Welsh’s story in the Sun Herald from last month on the restoration of Buccaneer State Park in Waveland. I saw the C-L picked it up for today’s edition as they are manpower poor and no doubt very hungry for content. These are very challenging economic times for poorly run newspaper chains such as the C-L’s corporate parent Gannett but that is another post:

One of the Coast’s most beloved but hurricane-battered attractions is getting a $17 million overhaul and may be partially rebuilt by late fall, but won’t be back to full steam until at least 2010. Continue reading “Slabbed Daily July 15: Dead Fish Edition”

Once the property is lost, then how do I regain it to lose it again with water?

Judge Randolph’s question was the first thing that came to mind after reading Did insurers testimony show guilt? h/t Y’all Politics

Recent arguments in a Mississippi Supreme Court case offer proof that private insurers are improperly pushing storm damage claims from their books to the government-backed flood insurance program, Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Bay St. Louis, said in a telephone interview.

“It confirmed, under oath, what we have been saying all along: that the taxpayers got stuck with paying bills that the insurance industry should have paid,” said Taylor, who has long maintained that it’s a conflict of interest for insurers to be responsible for handling homeowner policies and flood policies for the same property…

With Nationwide’s startling admission, too little has been made of the testimony given by USAA attorney Charles Copeland, AKA the King of Flip-Flops.

Charles Copeland, a lawyer for USAA, a Texas-based financial services company and insurer, did not go as far as Landau but said that a policyholder would not be entitled to collect if the storm damage were due to “the combined concurrent force of wind and water.”

In a June 18 letter to Taylor, Copeland said that USAA does not shift coverage for wind damage to the flood insurance program.

“Shift” is the key word here – USAA does not “shift” because, according to Copeland’s testimony, Congress intended for the flood insurance program to pay for more than “flood only” damage. Continue reading “Once the property is lost, then how do I regain it to lose it again with water?”

in pictures and with a 1000 words – the Congressman of the slabbed

Like the really good neighbor he is, the Congressman of the slabbed – on your side on YouTube!


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!”

USAA’s admission of Claims Dumping in Corban ripples across the media

This story at the Insurance and Financial Advisor is too good to let lie. (Big H/T to Editilla at the Ladder) I think we’re fixing to find out if the people at the National Underwriter wield pom poms or if they are real journalists. Bob Graham has the story:

An insurance company admitted to shifting its costs to the federal National Flood Insurance Program in the first wind versus water damage case from Hurricane Katrina to reach Mississippi’s high court.

Insurance company USAA made the admission in oral arguments before the Mississippi Supreme Court June 9 in a heavily watched case about whether carriers bear the burden of proof to decide the extent of property damage caused by wind and if carriers can void a homeowner’s wind coverage because of prior water damage.

A lower court had asked the state’s high court to interpret the “anti-concurrent causation” clause in homeowners’ policies as a precursor to it addressing a policyholder’s request for coverage from USAA.

The high court’s ruling is critical in establishing how insurance companies that wrote policies in Mississippi – and possibly other states — eventually handle claims resulting from the August 2005 hurricane. Continue reading “USAA’s admission of Claims Dumping in Corban ripples across the media”