Jeff Amy should be proud. His story was picked up by the AP and posted to the Yahoo Allstate summary page. We’ll link his report at the Mobile Press Register directly:
Allstate Corp. and Alfa Mutual group will cumulatively drop wind coverage on 14,000 homeowner policies in Mobile and Baldwin counties over the next 18 months, Alabama Insurance Commissioner Jim Ridling said Tuesday.
The cuts will affect as many as 7 percent of all homeowners in the two counties.
The moves are another jolt to Alabama’s ailing coastal insurance market. Since 2004’s Hurricane Ivan, Allstate, Alfa and State Farm Fire and Casualty have said they would drop wind coverage or all coverage on nearly 41,000 policies, according to Press-Register counts.
Alfa spokesman Jeff Helms said models show his Montgomery-based firm has too much money at risk if a hurricane hits Alabama.
“This is something we needed to do to make sure Alfa could continue to serve its policyholders and pay claims statewide.” Helms said of the decision to cut wind coverage from 5,000 policies.
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.
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.”
All this week, Florida’s largest newspaper, the Miami Herald, has been writing both feature articles and editorials about the problems facing Florida property owners in finding affordable insurance. Day after day, headlines conveyed the intensity of the struggle: “Storm Warning: Prop up insurance,” was a typical lead, along with “Is Citizens Insurance ready for the big one?” and “Lawmakers still scrambling on wind insurance.” Florida, like all gulf coast states, has problems of both insurance affordability and availability. But here’s the difference between the Sunshine state and the Bayou state. Florida is giving the problem serious attention. It’s a front and center concern for the governor, the legislature, insurance regulators, and the news media. In Louisiana, there is hardly a whisper.
When Florida Governor Charlie Crist took office a few months before Governor Bobby Jindal in 2007, his first words of commitment were: “The lack of available and affordable property insurance is the biggest threat to our economy. We cannot wait until the regular legislative session to find solutions.” Crisp immediately called a special session of the legislature and offered a litany of changes and reforms that led to cheaper insurance rates.”
Florida has significantly more hurricane exposure than does Louisiana. Ninety percent of all homeowners live within a few miles of the Gulf or the Atlantic Ocean. A hurricane crossing the Florida peninsula slows down, at best, only 15 miles per hour. Yet in spite of all this exposure, property insurance rates are cheaper in Florida than in Louisiana. In Perdido Key, on the Florida-Alabama border, many Louisianans have beach homes or condos. On average, they pay significantly less on these properties than they do on their homes in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and other Louisiana cities. Property insurance rates for commercial real estate have gone down, somewhere in the neighborhood of 30% to 40%, according realtor Steve Ekovich of the Tampa office of Marcus & Millichap, and insurance is more available. Continue reading “Jim Brown Compares Florida”
Those of you who have followed the Judge Rakoff posts are keenly aware that Bank of America (“BOA”) is up shit creek. Not only did it lie in a certified proxy statement filed under SEC law, it looks a lot like BOA purposefully understated Merrill Lynch’s financial condition by $20 billion. All of this was done in connection with a request for federal bail out funds, used by BOA to purchase Merrill last year. None of this would probably matter if BOA wasn’t in court before Judge Jed S. Rakoff.
Judge Jed Rakoff, a great American judge, rejected a phony-assed settlement agreement BOA and the corrupt SEC tried to float by him last week, and told them he wanted names and dates of the fraudulent activities. BOA is scrambling to keep the information secret, claiming attorney-client privilege among other things. Bam Bam readers en garde! There is no privilege when an attorney assists someone in committing or planning to commit, fraud. See Rule of Evidence 502. Don’t ever let anyone tell you different.
A House panel called the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has told BOA that it cannot use attorney-client privilege in refusing to answer questions about the BOA-Merrill deal. Chairman Edolphus Towns wants BOA to reveal information that could affect Judge Rakoff’s case and the New York AG’s investigations into the BOA scandal. Continue reading “Judge Jed Rakoff Wakes Up Congress”
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.
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”
I sure do as the blogger who would become known as Bam Bam Bigelow authored the post on him for Slabbed late last month. Yesterday Judge Jed S. Rakoff lowered the boom on both Bank of America and the captured (and toothless) regulators at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Nowdy, I sure do miss that SEC employee who had plenty of time to come here and trash the Rigsby sisters back in 2008 before George Bush and his band of idiots had to vacate DC taking their political hacks with them. After all what was evidently more important at the SEC in 2008 than trashing whistleblowers? It sure as hell wasn’t regulating these companies that took us all to the verge of bankruptcy last year.
The New York Times has the story with a hat tip to Professor Russ Abbott who was kind enough to link our earlier coverage. Welcome to slabbed Russ:
As President Obama traveled to Wall Street on Monday and chided bankers for their recklessness, across town a federal judge issued a far sharper rebuke, not just for some of the financiers but for their regulators in Washington as well.
Giving voice to the anger and frustration of many ordinary Americans, Judge Jed S. Rakoff issued a scathing ruling on one of the watershed moments of the financial crisis: the star-crossed takeover of Merrill Lynch by the now-struggling Bank of America.
Q. …….Would you be willing to chat with him briefly about this? He just has a much better grip on the issues in this case and I think that it would be more helpful to him to talk directly to you.
A. Wow. I’m kind of torn here. I do this – I’m in this business because I like to see that people get every dime they’re entitled to and that’s what gives me satisfaction in this job. I think the companies screw over people regularly. On the other hand, I have had my neighbor suing me for four years on an easement that’s been in existence since 1920. I have been abused by a whole number of attorneys including the judge who likes to keep his docket padded and that’s why we’re in this situation.
Q. I understand.
A. So right now, I have really had my fill of attorneys and don’t care to help one out. I wouldn’t help one cross a busy street right now.
The litigants on the post katrina coast know exactly where State Farm adjuster Lorrie Beno is coming from with those remarks which were transcribed from the recording of the phone coversations she had with a private investigator hired by the Weatherly family in their fight against State Farm. We seen our fair share of judges (mostly former insurance defense lawyers) who don’t follow the law or abuse elderly policyholders like Magistrate Walker has Mrs Politz in her suit against Nationwide. We’ve seen lawyers with questionable ethics like Scot Spragins and his sidekick Lucky Tucker of Hickman, Goza and Spragins abuse the court system and flaunt court orders earning fees from State Farm. I could go on and on giving many other examples but let’s visit back with Miss Beno as she describes how State Farm adjusted flood claims:
A. I don’t know how it was handled on the wind at all.
A. The only thing I can tell him, which he probably already knows, is find out that adjustor has been an adjustor.
The judges name is Jed S. Rakoff, and he “sits” in the US District Court of Manhattan. He’s a man I could address as “Your Honor,” and sincerely mean it. He isn’t shy about stating that the public must be able to “see” what our court system is doing if they are to have any confidence in it at all. He’s adopted strict rules limiting what sort of materials may be kept confidential in cases before him. He calls this “transparency,” but what he’s really saying is this . . . every time a court does something under the table, (like sealing State Farm’s documents without any basis whatsoever), it demeans the justice system and destroys people’s belief in their government.
We all know how corporate defendants constantly game the system with their pseudo “trade secret” claims. Good God, think of the horror stories posted on this blog alone. Sadly, these shameless lies presented in signed court papers governed by Rule 11 honestly standards are rarely subjected to the mandatory test for excluding discoverable information: (1) the movant has the burden of proving everything they withheld is a bona fide trade secret; and (2) a record finding must be made, based on facts and/or testimony, and the controlling law in discovery cases; and (3) all of this must be preserved in a public court record, susceptible to appellate review.
Contrast Judge Rakoff’s “transparency” with what happened in Birmingham, corporate rat’s nest of the South. Not only were documents concealed, hell, the entire case against Cori and Keri Rigsby was ginned up to keep evidence of federal flood program fraud a secret, and at the same time persecute and defame the Rigsbys and Dick Scruggs as document thieves. Imagine that. What would people like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Benjamin Cardozo do if they were alive to witness an Article III Tribunal, a United States Federal Court involved in this sordid and illegal mess? Imposing personal jurisdiction over persons not even within the court’s constitutional power . . . for the purpose of concealing a multi billion dollar fraud upon the US Treasury? Continue reading “Here’s a judge who took an oath of office, and lives up to it. An anonymous guest post.”
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…..”