Thursday, February 26th, 2009
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
JINDAL A TOUGH SELL ON A NATIONAL STAGE
Bobby Jindal had an uphill fight to begin with this past Tuesday evening when he was the Republican pick to give a response to the President’s State of the Union speech. He was thrown into the lion’s den to give reaction to comments of a popular president, just coming into office, with a major segment of the American public pulling for him and giving him high marks. No matter what Jindal might have said, he really could not, and did not gain any traction or score any substantive points.
Jindal was called on to mouth the national party line, and right now, that line is a big stumbling block for the GOP. They are dealing with a President whose popularity ratings stay above 60% in every major recent poll. Tuesday night, MSNBC tracked the reaction of both Obama voters and McCain voters in several focus groups around the country. Both sides were consistently and solidly positive throughout Obama’s speech. In fact, when the President talked about unfreezing credit markets and ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, McCain voters were stronger for the President that the Obama group. The Republicans are trying to mould an alternative to a President who, so far, seems to be right on with an acceptable message to a solid majority of the country, leaving Jindal little wiggle room to respond. Continue reading “Jim Brown on Bobby Jindal”
Nope he couldn’t. Our readers may remember our coverage of the Sun Herald editorial calling out Senate Finance Committee Chairman Eugene “Buck” Clarke and criticizing him for caring more about insurance company profits than the citizens of this state. Was the Op-ed spot on? See for yourself.
I suspect the loss of the brain cells naturally followed after Mr Clarke left his head up Ed Rust’s hiney too long. Has anyone see Lieutenant Governor Bryant????
Thursday, February 12th, 2009
New Orleans, Louisiana
SEN. DAVID VITTER AND THE STIMULUS PACKAGE
Louisiana’s US Sen. David Vitter seems to be leading the charge of Republican opposition to the proposed stimulus package. Let’s get things straight. We are talking here about the federal government stimulus package, not the stimulus being offered by Baton Rouge porn star stormy Daniels, who says she is running against the incumbent senator in his reelection effort next year. Vitter has been in the forefront of opposing virtually every major plank of the President’s proposals.
Just last week in the Senate chamber, Sen. Vitter took the mike and became almost incredulous over what he perceived to be massive wasteful spending. He was perfectly abuzz over the sum of $150 million that, according to the Senator, would pay for “honey bee insurance.” Vitter called out to his fellow senators challenging “any member to come and explain what this provision was.”
But if one reads the proposed legislation, the provision that raised the shackles of the Senator was a disaster insurance program for all livestock producers. Beekeepers no doubt would be minor beneficiaries. Proposals before Congress now simply continue a program put in place by Congress last year, overriding a veto by President Bush. Continue reading “Jim Brown on Senator David Vitter and his need for stimulation”
Things get a tad busy this time of year and the lack of blogging time on mine and Nowdy’s part means there is insurance news we don’t cover. Fortunately our friend Sup brought up the policyholder bill of rights, a story I’ve been following but which fell on my B list because of severe time constraints. A story we have been following and in fact broke right here on Slabbed was the recent Grilletta decision at the 5th Circuit which was a major victory for policyholders. Thanks to Anita Lee I get to maximize my time and kill two birds with one stone as the legal points that gave policyholders protections against being jerked around by a bad faith insurer in Louisiana do not exist in Mississippi. Before I link the salient source docs in our archives let’s begin with Ms Lee’s excellent story on Grilletta:
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed a victory to Louisiana policyholders this week in a Katrina insurance case, but the ruling won’t benefit Mississippians because the state lacks a law requiring timely payment of claims.
In the Louisiana case of Grilletta v. Lexington Insurance Co., a trial judge levied a penalty equal to 25 percent of the undisputed amount paid for wind damage because the company failed to act on the claim within 30 days of receiving proof of the loss. In fact, the appellate ruling said, “Lexington arbitrarily sat on the claim for over two months” after an adjuster concluded wind had destroyed the house. Lexington then hired an engineering firm that blamed the loss on storm surge, excluded from coverage. The April 2006 report also noted wind damage.
In June 2006, Lexington sent the policyholder a $311,055.38 check for the wind damage.
A trial judge levied a 25 percent penalty on that amount for the arbitrary late payment. The judge rejected penalties for the additional amount awarded at trial, $248,325.42, reasoning there was a legitimate coverage dispute.
The appellate court ordered the judge to assess the 25 percent penalty on coverage awarded at trial, saying failure to make timely payment on a covered claim exposes the insurer to penalties on the entire claim.
Mississippians, hundreds of whom waited more than two years for Katrina payments, lack similar protection and are unlikely to get it from the current Legislature, say policyholder attorneys and state Sen. David Baria. Baria is sponsoring a bill that mandates timely payment of claims.
“I believe that would get the insurance companies’ attention as far as treating policyholders more fairly,” said attorney Ben Galloway of Owen Galloway & Myers in Gulfport. “Right now, the deck is stacked against the policyholder. We’ve seen it over and over in Katrina litigation.
“There’s really not much incentive for insurance companies to be fair with insureds on a claim.” Continue reading “Anita Lee fires up da Grilletta: In Mississippi “the deck is stacked against the policyholder”. Bill of Rights Anyone?”
The impending change of administrations means George Bush’s 2004 campaign manager’s usefulness running the AIA is done. His creditials are simple impeccable having worked for such stellar examples of the GOP capitalist model lobbying for Enron.
In the aftermath of the meltdown of the financial system of which AIG is the poster boy I find this blurb from the AIA website most ironic:
Unfortunately, some public policymakers wrongly believe that imposing heavy-handed pricing or other regulatory requirements will solve market problems arising from the increased costs of natural disasters; in truth, these “solutions” actually make market challenges worse.
Yeah guys, having Uncle Sam stick his head in the sand while traders at AIG help implode the financial system trading in unregulated markets works great eh?
Arthur Postal has the story at the National Underwriter complete with the lip stick on a pig quotes from both unnamed sources and Hank Greenberg’s son Evan while Ken Crerar knows the score however: Continue reading “Bush Political Lackey Marc Racicot Curbed by American Insurance Association”
I ran across this on Chris Joiner’s blog while first missing it in Thursday’s Sun Herald. Then Halliburton subsidiary KBR was blasted by the DOD Inspector General for doing poor work and squandering millions of dollars in contracts to restore military facilities impacted by Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina. Here is the Sun Herald report. Following are excerpts from the Washington Post blog entry that got the reporting rolling:
The Houston-based company’s efforts to repair Navy facilities following Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina were deemed shoddy and substandard, auditors say, prompting one technical adviser to claim that the federal government “certainly paid twice” for many KBR projects because of “design and workmanship deficiencies,” according to a report (see PDF here) released today by the Defense Department’s inspector general.
The report, released following a Freedom of Information Act request, says the U.S. Navy hired KBR, Inc., then known as Kellogg, Brown and Root, in July 2004 to repair Defense Department facilities after Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina. The federal government agreed to pay the company $500 million over five years.
At the time, the company was a subsidiary of Halliburton, the Texas oil company, whose former chief executive is Vice President Dick Cheney. Continue reading “Good Job Brownie! KBR Katrina Work Blasted by the Pentagon. Millions Squandered”
Our friend Steve makes the AP story on Bill Clinton’s visit to the Pass – Read Bill stumps for Hillary on Katrina-battered Mississippi Coast.
PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. — Former President Clinton highlighted his wife’s support for reforming national flood insurance and for rebuilding wetlands in a town nearly wiped off the map by Hurricane Katrina as he campaigned ahead of next week’s Democratic presidential primary in Mississippi. Continue reading “Topbanana in AP Story”
Welp pardners, this Cowboy just saw something that made me laugh hard. Ole David Dugas is havin’ hisself one heck of a hard time gettin’ that promotion to federal judge ’cause he was soft on crime – insurance crime that is. There is a lesson in this for ole Dunn Lampton too. Look here from our friends over Times Picayune way: Continue reading “A Price to Be Paid Boys…..”
I’ve noticed that when solutions to this insurance mess are offered it is one political party that is doing the offering. Outside of a few Democrats like US Senator Christopher Dodd the Republican party is the overwhelming choice for discriminating big business and insurance political donors.
Such must certainly be the case here in Mississippi as we found this Clarion-Ledger story concerning Phil Bryant’s State Senate Insurance Committee most disturbing. Lt. Governor’s Bryant stated campaign goal of continuing the coastal rebuilding efforts certainly are taking a back seat to his service to monied insurance interests. Continue reading “The Mississippi “R” Factor Part 2″
We have more insurance news out most of it involving the State of Mississippi. As I noted yesterday the contrast between Commissioner McCarty and the Republican Party in Florida and Commissioner Chaney and the Republican leadership in Mississippi is striking and very unfavorable to our leadership here. Today we are greeted with this news story in the Sun Herald on the Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association: Continue reading “The Mississippi “R” Factor Part 1″