May I have your attention for an important annoucement

Back in August 2009 we put together what we termed a legal confab involving policyholder lawyers litigating wind-water cases where lawyers from Mississippi and Louisiana compared notes to the benefit of their policyholder clients. I think those that attended now understand the presentation they saw forms the basis of Ex Rel Denenea v Allstate and as an added bonus we listened to the sultry voice of State Farm call center adjuster Lorrie Beno as she spilled her guts to a PI. For our part our work on the Slabberator and Nowdy’s excellent work on breaking down claims adjusting software was our earn in.

We limited the audience to plaintiff’s lawyers, selected members of the media and a representative from Congressman Gene Taylor’s office.  As legal strategy was discussed we didn’t want the other side to benefit from what we knew thus the security measures.  We had plaintiff’s lawyers contact us from as far away as West Virginia and had an inquiry from Mississippi State Government on attending.  (The plaintiff’s lawyers was invited but MID was not.)

Along those lines we continue to be humbled by the quality of our readership from across this land.  Several months ago I contacted Rutgers Law Professor Jay Feinman, author of Delay, Deny and Defend and a friend to this blog to see if he come down here for book signing and possibly speak at another legal confab.  I just heard from Jay and he will be down here in Soggy Bottom at the tail end of March and he’d be delighted to stay over a day or so to participate in the first annual Slabbapalooza.  We’re targeting March 25th.

I’d like to invite the entire Slabbed Nation, even you guys on the insurance defense bar and at LDOI and MID to come hear Professor Feinman speak. We’d like to keep this a free event and I can do that over here in Soggy Bottom but we are not averse to holding it in NOLA, access to meeting space being the main concern.

We’re trying to gauge interest so we can hone the event.  Shoot me an email or leave a comment on this post. I’ll update when we have a firm date, time and place.

As always we thank you for your support.


Systemic Denial: A Corban v USAA postscript

First the systemic:

Insurance companies basically sell security. A consumer is willing to pay insurance premiums in the expectation that if something bad happens—a house burns down, a car crashes—the company will pay for the loss that otherwise might financially ruin the consumer.

I had homeowners (wind/hail) through USAA, I also purchased my flood coverage through USAA. After Katrina I had a slab and pilings left. The National Flood Insurance policy paid off fairly quickly. Concerning my Wind/Hail coverage, USAA sent me a letter saying “Where there is no coverage, no payment can be made”. I decided to fight them. I attended the State Ins. Dept. sponsored arbitration, where USAA offered my about ten cents on the dollar. I signed an impasse statement and did not accept their offer. I hired my own experts (structure and weather) and kept the pressure on USAA. Approaching the 3 year anniversary of Katrina, USAA sent me a check for the full insured value of my home with no explanation. I lost the interest on the payment for three years

Now for the complete denial. This from team USAA last October: Continue reading “Systemic Denial: A Corban v USAA postscript”

A few quick odds and end.

Nowdy emails me with news she is under the weather. I’ve been doing the work and soccer dad thing. I have around 15 hours of work on my desk and am booked solid all week thus time is short. Here are a couple of items that have been on my slabbed list:

Jay Feinman’s book Delay Deny Defend, which we profiled last month here, is now on sale. Jay emailed me with the news he has been getting Katrina questions in his talk radio interviews on the book. He has two upcoming appearances scheduled, the next one being tomorrow on KAOS 89.3 FM in Washington State at 2pm Central. The book is an easy read and very informative. John Ewolt at the Minnepolis Star Tribune gave Jay good marks in a review he wrote earlier this month.

Next up is the special election to replace Judge Joan Benge in the 24th Judicial District. As several of our commenters have noted both on Slabbed and offline it is curtains for Debbie Villio as she placed second to Ray Steib. I tend to agree with those who think the supporters of the number 3 finisher in the race, Don Klotz will migrate to Steib. Meantime I’m certain there is a job on the public payroll waiting for Villio, along with that personnel board complaint on her political activities, after the election. Continue reading “A few quick odds and end.”

Evidence of bad faith is not a trade secret or highly confidential as Slabbed welcomes back the insurance bastards from Liberty Mutual.

Courtesy of Mr Liberty Mutual:

Folks we have proof positive that alittle Slabbin’ coupled with sunshine makes a difference as yesterday, Liberty Mutual filed a motion to seal the evidence that we presented Monday regarding a policyholder in New Orleans that Liberty Mutual had arrested simply because the policyholder dared to filed a claim for the wind damage that Liberty Mutual promised to cover in their homeowners policy but never did.   

Isn’t this so typical of a socially deviant corporate predator insurance company to behave badly and then try to shield their behavior from the public trying to designate their bullshit a trade secret or otherwise confidential. Unfortunately these criminals (and folks lets call this what it is) have enablers in the federal court system, usually in the form of former insurance defense lawyers that bought their way onto the court with the fortunes they made defending insurance companies while in private practice.

US Magistrate Robert Walker is such an example here in Mississippi and there is no shortage of such types in the Louisiana Eastern District such as Judge Kurt Engelhardt. These people provide insurers with the magic jurisdiction needed to hush up the bad behavior. Unfortunately Judge Vance’s Magistrate in Ex Rel Branch, Sally Sushan has proven herself  one such enabler. Is it any wonder that out here on Main Street the public’s confidence in getting a  fair shake out of our court system is at an all time low.

It is not lost on us that rather than protecting the cause of justice the federal court system instead protects the perpetrators with the use of seals and protective orders. Simply put our courts have sold out to the highest bidder and transparency has been sacrificed at the altar of money and greed.  Continue reading “Evidence of bad faith is not a trade secret or highly confidential as Slabbed welcomes back the insurance bastards from Liberty Mutual.”

Responsibility? Not the policy at Liberty Mutual. Hardball adjusting and litigation is more like it. Slabbed welcomes the insurance bastards from Massachusetts

Courtesy of Mr Liberty Mutual:

My partner Nowdy is our resident law blogger and she has done a bang up job covering the insurance litigation here on Slabbed but a few evenings ago she sent me some documents from the Branch false claims act case that made my jaw drop. Operating under the assumption that a picture is worth a thousand words as Nowdy illustrated in her post Branch Consultants file Rock(well) solid opposition to Protective Order – explain why Walker’s Order won’t protect State Farm’s a$$ in Rigsby qui tam, I’ve embedded Exhibit 2 from the Branch reply on Motion to Compel Exhibit 2, Docket #238.  The documented wind damage to the house at 7441 Fieldstone Road in New Orleans begins on page 3: 

[scribd id=27241471 key=key-p6y6z8tgm0dpla6to48] 

So folks if we can all agree on the obvious wind damage and before I get to the portion of the pleading which is the topic of this post we need to visit with the former Liberty Mutual employee who now goes by the nom de guerre Mr Liberty Mutual: Continue reading “Responsibility? Not the policy at Liberty Mutual. Hardball adjusting and litigation is more like it. Slabbed welcomes the insurance bastards from Massachusetts”

Delay Deny Defend: Why insurance companies don’t pay claims and what you can do about it.

We were honored to be contacted by the good folks at the Penguin Group’s Portfolio Publishing a week or so back. They inquired if we’d be interested in reviewing a new book by Jay M Feinman on the insurance claims process titled Delay Deny Defend. Professor Feinman is a Distinguished Professor of Law at Rutgers University School of Law who shares an interest in how insurers handle their claims with your (mostly) humble moderators here at Slabbed. According to the book’s website, “Feinman is a well-known expert on contract law, tort law, insurance law, and legal education. His scholarly work, including more than fifty scholarly articles, has been widely cited in the academic literature and by courts, including the United States Supreme Court.”

Lets begin with the accompanying press release:

Over the last two decades, insurance has become less of a safety net and more of a spider’s web: sticky and complicated, designed to ensnare as much as to aid.

Author and insurance expert Jay Feinman explores how these trends developed, how the government ought to fix the system and what the rest of us can do to protect ourselves.

In the book Dr Feinman chronicles many of the systemic abuses of policyholders many of which we have covered through time here. A few of the more interesting points Dr Feinman makes:

  • Auto insurance company spies who infiltrate church support groups to prove accident victims faked injuries.
  • Claims Adjusters who receive cash incentives to reduce the amount paid out on each claim.
  • Katrina claims adjusters receiving their 2 day training at a Burger King before being given a ladder and notebook computer.

Of course it was his chapter on Hurricane Katrina that immediately drew my interest. Before I share the contents of the chapter I’d like to take a second to highlight what is not is in it.  First off there are no fanciful Grand Unified Theories that attempt to tie the policyholder cases to Dick Continue reading “Delay Deny Defend: Why insurance companies don’t pay claims and what you can do about it.”