The State Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Corban V USAA

Our readers may remember we have covered the developments in this case here and here. Today Anita Lee reports the Mississippi Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal from Judge Dodson’s courtroom on whether the anti concurrent clause is ambiguous and thus unenforceable. Alternatively the state Supremes could ratify the 5th Circuit’s reasoning in Tuepker and/or Leonard or they could muck things up badly.

Again I think Justice Jess Dickinson’s vote will be the interesting one to watch as this case unfolds. Now for Anita Lee’s report:

The Mississippi Supreme Court has agreed to decide how an insurance policy should be interpreted in a wind vs. water dispute over Hurricane Katrina claims.

In Corban vs. USAA, Long Beach policyholders argue the insurance company should cover wind damage to their property, regardless of damage caused by water. Water damage is excluded from coverage. USAA and other insurers argue that policy language also excludes coverage for a combination of wind and water.

The Supreme Court is expected to resolve the issue before the case goes to trial in Circuit Court. Continue reading “The State Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Corban V USAA”

Breaking: Judge Senter DQ’s Missouri Lawyers in Ex Rel Rigsby

There is no joy for the taxpayers today as Judge Senter has DQ’d the Missouri duo law firms.  The gist of his reasoning is that they found out about the consulting arrangement after the fact and took no action when they found out.  I’m uncertain as to what action they could have taken except withdraw but Judge Senter’s reasoning is what it is.  Here is the pdf of the today’s order.

Now we are up to 2 and a half years with no justice for the slabbed.


The Commish’s Wind Pool Education Continues

In yesterday’s Sun Herald I saw Geoff Pender took Commissioner Chaney to task over his ill advised Wind Pool Press Release from last week. In his piece, Pender hits on the sentiment I’ve encountered since this became a topic for discussion down here; one that is not favorable to the commissioner:

State Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney last week announced in a press release that state wind pool insurance premiums would soon approach pre-Katrina prices.

I’ll pause for the howls of derisive laughter to subside.

Now, obviously, if you live on the Coast and participate in the wind pool, you know that statement is a bunch of bullfeathers. As one reader responded, “They are closer to pre-Katrina levels except that they are 75 percent higher.”

Chaney later explained that he was referring to rates for a “Fortified Home,” or one built to a stringent set of hurricane-proof standards. OK. Problem is, only one such bunker has been built on the Coast to date. Continue reading “The Commish’s Wind Pool Education Continues”

You break out the big ass bottle of Grey Goose, make dirty martinis & welcome Bellesouth

Nowdy sometime after we had several martinis last night I think I remember Belle agreeing to author some posts for us on slabbed. Belle is a yellowdog democrat like our friend Steve. I look forward to her posts and bet they’ll be both different in viewpoint and interesting.

Besides Belle we’d like to welcome those who clicked to us from the ABA Law Journal. Nowdy who wudda ever thunk it back in March? :-)

Nowdy makes a fantastic garlic/apricot stuffed pork tenderloin roulade. Along with the martinis that I mixed she served us a baby spinach and strawberry salad and potatoes. We visited late into the night. Belle hugged me twice. 😳 It ain’t just anybody than can say they’ve been hugged by an authentic southern Belle. 😉

And then up at 6 for a long long day. Say goodnight Gracie.


Catching up with Chip Merlin

I had a minute and surfed Chip Merlin’s blog and found a couple of very interesting posts. The first one is here. In it Chip talks about the Senate vote on Multi Peril Insurance.

If another hurricane the size of Katrina or stronger strikes a metropolitan area this summer or fall, I am certain that we will have a repeat of the litigation and problems associated with Katrina. On May 8, the United States Senate voted against increasing the role of the National Flood Insurance Program to include coverage for ”wind” peril……..The Senators supporting the measure were from the coastal states most effected by hurricanes. These southern Senators and their constituency are increasingly facing the problem that private property insurance carriers will not sell a policy that covers the perils posed by a hurricane.

I met with Gene Taylor, a United States Representative from Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, in early 2007 regarding this problem. Hurricane Katrina destroyed his home and those of friends. He understood that coastal policyholders with complete destruction were only getting the flood damage paid for under the coverage purchased through the National Flood Program. Despite homes miles inland being paid signicant benefits under their all risk coverage from wind damage, coastal insureds suffering from a combination of wind and flood were generally getting paid pennies on the dollar for wind related damage. He and other coastal Representatives believe that the only solution available is to make available a policy that covers both the water and wind perils which occur during a hurricane. As I previously stated, the Senate voted against such coverage.

The experience of Gene Taylor is accurate. Continue reading “Catching up with Chip Merlin”

The Commish Gets a Wind Pool Education…..

The first incarnation of Commissioner Chaney mentioning wind pool rates and pre Katrina pricing levels was at the Chamber luncheon last month when (I thought) I heard him tell the crowd that by June of 2009 we’d be back close to pre Katrina levels for wind pool pricing. Somehow I missed this yesterday:

Coast insurance premiums will reach “nearly pre-Katrina levels by June,” Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney says in a news release about the state wind pool.

The paying public didn’t miss it as our Insurance Commissioner’s Tuesday Press Release was soundly ridiculed by Sun Herald readers:

They are closer to pre-Katrina levels except that they are 75% more expensive. C’mon. Do the Math: 1,189 over 679. What a joke!

thought you had to at least have some math ability to get a job as commissioner… apparently not – $1189 = $679. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that those 2 numbers are not even close…

Just once I would like to hear the truth from a politician. If they can’t do the math, they should get someone who can to explain it to them. If I had a house payment I couldn’t afford my house because of the insurance. Affortable housing isn’t the ptroblem. Insurance is the problem. Continue reading “The Commish Gets a Wind Pool Education…..”

Breaking: Allstate Loses Appeal, Florida Suspension is On

Thanks to Mr CLS for the heads up.  From Commissioner McCarty’s office in Tallahassee.

I’m pleased to report that the First District Court today has again affirmed the appropriateness of the Office’s action in issuing the January Immediate Final Order suspending Allstate’s licenses to sell new business in Florida; it has denied Allstate’s request for a rehearing and has lifted the stay of the suspension. As a result, the suspension now is back in effect.

We are currently reviewing the Court’s opinion and the status of Allstate’s compliance with the law, Section 624.318(2), Florida Statutes, which requires them to freely produce documents requested by this Office. We will be issuing a more detailed statement later today.

The suspension applies to Allstate Floridian Insurance Co., Allstate Indemnity Co., Allstate Property & Casualty Insurance Co., Allstate Insurance Co., Allstate Floridian Indemnity Co., Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Co., Encompass Insurance Co. of America, Encompass Indemnity Co., Encompass Floridian Insurance Co. and Encompass Floridian Indemnity Co., and it only suspends the companies from writing new business in Florida.

Senate Votes to Renew Flood Insurance Program Part 2: The Politics

Rather than adding on to Nowdy’s post I’ll add the text of today’s Sun Herald Op-Ed on the S. 2284 vote. For what ever reason they mixed in this Reuters story in the online page by Kevin Drawbaugh on the Senate vote which I thought was both fact based and well written. On the front page of today’s Sun Herald is this AP story. We duly noted both Senators Wicker and Cochran voted in favor of S. 2284 while Florida’s Bill Nelson joined Mary Landrieu and David Vitter in voting against passage.

The Mississippi politics behind the vote are somewhat ironic. I suspect Wicker and Cochran’s final yes vote was the price for getting a vote on the wind amendment. Given Travis Childer’s victory in the first district yesterday, 3 of 4 Mississippi’s US Representatives are Democrats. Even hard core Republicans like Alan Lange at now concede the macro political trend away from the GOP may indeed wash over entire state as surely as Katrina’s water washed away the coast. In all honesty I’ve never cared much for Thad Cochran but not for political reasons – he’s always struck me as the Senator for the wealthy but he’ll occupy the seat as long as he wants it. Roger Wicker is the one that is vulnerable as Alan Lange acknowledged today. I personally think Ronnie Musgrove is a deeply flawed candidate but the race is shaping up to be very competitive.

At slabbed we’re happy Senator Wicker’s wind amendment got a vote. But we need more than a vote. We need a solution. In these months leading up to the November election we’ll continue to evaluate the candidates for Trent Lott’s old Senate seat.

Few who come here leave unchanged in some way. Continue reading “Senate Votes to Renew Flood Insurance Program Part 2: The Politics”

Judge Mills to Moultrie “Where’s the Beef”? Denies Moultrie’s Polygraph Motion

You heard the other side of the story on why this motion would be turned down here on slabbed. We’ll be watching to see if the Oxford Eagle covers this setback for team Moultrie. We have Judge Mill’s order on our growing USA V Moultrie page here. These excerpts pretty much tells the tale:

The court finds that the defendant has not established that the science behind polygraph examinations is sufficiently reliable to be deemed admissible. Accordingly, Moultrie’s motion to admit the results of his polygraph examinations must be DENIED.

The judge goes on to wonder why this ever ended up before him to begin with given that Robert Moultrie was never willing to take an honest polygraph administered by the FBI: Continue reading “Judge Mills to Moultrie “Where’s the Beef”? Denies Moultrie’s Polygraph Motion”

Corban V USAA Makes the News

We first mentioned this case here, which recapped the various 5th Circuit Court of Appeals rulings on anti concurrent causation. The importance is that the 5th Circuit follows state law and legal precedent in insurance cases. Since virtually all the cases have been tried in federal court the opportunity for the Mississippi Courts to speak for themselves on wind water issues has been very limited. Anita Lee reports on Corban V USAA, which originated in the Harrison County Circuit Court and now finds itself waiting legal clarification with the Mississippi Supreme Court due to inconsistencies between the Tuepker and Leonard decisions.

Circuit Judge Lisa Dodson followed the 5th Circuit’s ruling in the case (ostensibly Tuepker), but said a common-sense reading of the insurance clause indicates to her that only water damage is excluded from coverage. Her ruling will stand unless the Supreme Court agrees to decide the issue.

As we pointed out earlier this case has the potential to reverse some or all of the 5th circuit’s rulings thus far on anti concurrent causation which is precisely what attorneys for the Corbans are arguing, that anti concurrent causation is ambiguous and thus invalid. Continue reading “Corban V USAA Makes the News”