Why Paige St John won’t have to worry about the Wall Street Journal taking her Pulitzer Prize for insurance reporting.

I now try to avoid telling people how many years I’ve run both my own accounting practice and helping my much larger private sector clients prosper in one of the most competitive industries in our economy so I don’t betray the fact I’m on the fast downhill slide to the big five-oh.  That said and in light of true participation in the market economy of this once great nation there are times I read something in a national finance publication and I wonder which ivory tower these people have been smoking crack in.  So along those lines through time I’ve blogged here on Slabbed the folks over at the Wall Street Journal have come up a time or two.

Sadly I must report I did say the WSJ Editorial Board were a band of “lit and hallucinating buffoons” but that was only because they were unfavorably comparing a solvent state-run insurer of last resort in Florida Citizens with an insolvent one in Louisiana Citizens. The stupidity was simply stunning folks but these Ivory Tower sellouts are the same bunch that gave us the 2008 market crash and 10+% unemployment with their self-serving no-regulation rhetoric so I frankly should have never expected much from ’em.

And it is also true that late last year I skewered a couple of the WSJ beat reporters for passing off PR fluff from Allstate as a serious news story but again this group probably also buys into the concept of big business being able to impartially self investigate their own misdeeds but hey don’t take that from me as Sam Antar aka of “Crazy Eddie” infamy and one of the most famous fraudsters of all time discusses that issue in-depth on a sister new media website to Slabbed, the Business Insider. The bottom line is it is against that backdrop that I highlight another incredibly clueless Hurricane Irene/Insurer of Last Resort story by the WSJ dynamic duo of Erik Holm and Leslie Scism where their main source was some cat named “Critics“.  A search of our Slabbed files revealed one of the Insurance disInformation Institute’s Bob Hartwig’s aliases was indeed “Critics” so it is easy to identify what industry PR outfit fed Holm and his sidekick this “Hurricane Irene” story which rests on the following undisputed assertions from Mr Critics: Continue reading “Why Paige St John won’t have to worry about the Wall Street Journal taking her Pulitzer Prize for insurance reporting.”

Market manipulation and price fixing explained to the point even a clown can understand. Paige St John exposes the State Farm shuffle in Florida for the Herald Tribune.

Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon

Folks rarely does a business writer nail and explain a very complex subject in the interplay between our fragmented insurance markets here in the US  and the world of high finance but Paige St John over at the Herald Tribune explains how State Farm really didn’t pull out of Florida’s hurricane insurance market, how they game the anti trust exemption insurers enjoy and how they are able to price gouge as a result.  These same forces are at work in Mississippi, Alabama, Texas and Louisiana.

We last featured Paige’s work last October in our post It’s a ‘Bermudan’ day in the neightborhood…Paige St John at the Herald Tribune exposes why ‘buying Bermuda’ is like being hooked on crack and it is clear Paige is on track for a big time business journalism award for her work in this area.  Finally it was our post on Paige’s reporting on the Allstate McKinsey papers that literally landed us on the national blawg scene as Victoria Pynchon covered our coverage.

Here are a few excerpts:

When State Farm stepped up its march out of Florida, it loudly and publicly claimed hurricanes were pushing it toward financial disaster.

The company argued it had to leave the Florida coast — and drop nearly half a million customers — because it could not profit in a state wracked by so many storms.

But State Farm never really left Florida. Continue reading “Market manipulation and price fixing explained to the point even a clown can understand. Paige St John exposes the State Farm shuffle in Florida for the Herald Tribune.”

The Sierra Club Chips in With Bermuda Reinsurers, Opposes HR 1264

Ou good friend AM was kind enough to shoot us this hot off the press, press release from Gene’s office. Following the graphics is the original PR from Team Bermuda Reinsurance so our readers can decide for themselves who is telling the truth and who got a big fat donation. The people at the Sierra Club should not so easily sell their good names. If there was truth in labeling this shawdow organization would be called Bermuda Reinsurers united to price gouge American citizens. – sop

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
March 13, 2009                                                           (202) 225-5772

Gene Taylor Response to Insurance Industry-Backed
Americans for Smart Natural Catastrophe Policy
Environmental Groups Appear to do Industry Bidding

Americans for Smart Natural Catastrophe Policy appears to be a front group funded by the Bermuda reinsurance industry and their investors and partners in the U.S. insurance industry. The lobbyists for the Sierra Club and American Rivers are selling out their members without giving them relevant information.

In the first place, the Taylor bill does increase mitigation and requires stronger building codes. If the insurance-backed coalition truly wanted the federal government to encourage local governments to require stronger building codes, then the most effective way to do so is to make strong codes a condition of a federal insurance program, which is exactly what we do. Sec. 2 (2) of Rep. Taylor’s Multiple Peril Insurance Act of 2009 specifically states the following.

COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION REQUIREMENT- Multiperil coverage pursuant to paragraph (1)(A) and windstorm coverage pursuant to paragraph (1)(B) may not be provided in any area (or subdivision thereof) unless an appropriate public body shall have adopted adequate mitigation measures (with effective enforcement provisions) which the Director finds are consistent with the criteria for construction described in the International Code Council building codes relating to wind mitigation.

Second, the idea that we are increasing federal liability for disaster costs is ridiculous. The federal government already pays for all the losses that are not covered by insurance, but without the advantage of collecting premiums to pay for those losses. As a result, the taxpayers—rather than insurance companies—footed bill. The extent to which insurance companies committed fraud against the taxpayers has yet to be determined. My website details evidence that suggest the insurance companies defrauded the federal government’s flood insurance program. [See Evidence of Fraud by Insurers Handling Katrina Losses With Both Wind and Flood Damage.] Continue reading “The Sierra Club Chips in With Bermuda Reinsurers, Opposes HR 1264”