Hallelujah We’ve Finally Finished the Insurance Page

Here at slabbed we don’t just blog about Katrina recovery issues of which insurance is the most important item, we also live the experience, beginning with the fight for our lives on August 29, 2005, through the recovery process to becoming consumer oriented insurance activists. Between holding down our day jobs, posting current issues and news and attending insurance forums and lectures our insurance page suffered from the lack of attention but no more.  Included with Gene Taylor’s Mississippi Law Journal Article from March 2008 are PDF’s of reference materials I collected by attending Representative Taylor’s lecture and Commissioner Chaney’s forum.

This quote from Representative Taylor’s article reinforces what I mean about us slabbers living the experience: Continue reading “Hallelujah We’ve Finally Finished the Insurance Page”

State Farm agents win battle in LA court but may lose the war

Let’s start with news from Louisiana that reduces the value of the service provided by insurance agents – and sticks taxpayers with yet another tab.

U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi dismissed the Cameron Parish School Board’s lawsuit against State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. and agent Enos Derbonne.

The practical application of the judge’s ruling is that consumers have no reason to believe their State Farm agent will help them find the coverage they need when it’s more than the maximum available under the federal flood insurance program. Continue reading “State Farm agents win battle in LA court but may lose the war”

The Rest of the Commish Heavy News Day: New Wind Markets and the Bayside Bubble

I’ll attempt to kill two birds with one stone in highlighting the new wind markets available to coastal insurance consumers and the flood insurance problem that is popping with with increasing regularity on the coast, especially in Hancock County. The wind insurance news is both promising though somewhat insignificant in scope. The flood insurance news has the potential to strike at the heart of building affordable housing though our readers may be surprised at my take. First the new wind markets as reported in today’s Sun Herald.

Four insurance companies are offering wind coverage in the South Mississippi market, although restrictions apply. 

Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney said he has recently approved the “surplus-lines” companies. Surplus-lines companies insure high-risk properties without state regulation of rates or any guaranty in case of insolvency.

They have been active for years in South Mississippi’s commercial market, but are now beginning to pick up homeowner customers as well. Continue reading “The Rest of the Commish Heavy News Day: New Wind Markets and the Bayside Bubble”

Twofer Tuesday: Isn’t Mississippi fixed already?

Locally the Carter-Habitat work project continues to dominate the local headlines. There were two stories in today’s Sun Herald that read better from the back to the front of today’s paper. So first is the perspectives of some Habitat volunteers and then those of former President Carter.

Perhaps the most common misconception about the Mississippi Gulf Coast is that rebuilding is over.

Like Nowdy said, 2 years and 256 days seems like a long time.

Almost three years of bouncing around? Isn’t Mississippi fixed already?

Adele Lyons of Biloxi puts it better than anyone I’ve heard in my nine months on the Coast. At a recent conference in Washington, she heard the dreaded, “Oh, you’re not finished yet?”

“Look how long it takes to build a new store. A year? And that’s with a perfect planning process. Three years would not be unheard of for a big development,” she said. Obviously, our conditions are far from perfect.

Lyons works for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which has donated more than $1 million for the weeklong housing blitz. Continue reading “Twofer Tuesday: Isn’t Mississippi fixed already?”

Louisiana Citizens Insurance Shedding Customers Plus New Markets Opening

Citizens Insurance is the Louisiana equivalent of the Mississippi Wind Pool.  Due to incentives passed by the legislature private carriers are taking over 30,000 policies. However, as Rebecca Mowbray reports, things aren’t quite as simple as transfering the policies to a private carrier.

Responsibility for about 30,000 homeowners insurance policies is expected to be transferred from Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. to private insurers that won incentive grants from the state starting on June 1, shrinking the state-sponsored insurer of last resort to nearly its pre-Katrina size.

In addition, two of the five companies that won millions of dollars in matching grants from the state have begun selling homeowners policies to the public, and others are expected to follow later this summer.

John Wortman, chief executive of Citizens, said the group plans to offer a second “takeout” round in the fall, when private companies can bid to take over policies in Citizens. Continue reading “Louisiana Citizens Insurance Shedding Customers Plus New Markets Opening”

“Pick your option” – just say no!

Rebecca Mowbray’s Sunday food for thought was so filling that it took some time to digest all that she had to say about the Treasury Secretary Paulson’s proposal to allow insurance providers the option of operating under a federal charter or state regulation – a concept embodied in various “pick your option” legislation before Congress such as HR 3200, the National Insurance Act.

The chief reason for my slow digestion, however, was Mowbray’s lead posed an absolutely horrifying thought –

In dealing with all the insurance problems that arose with Hurricane Katrina, would it have made a difference for Louisiana homeowners if a federal insurance regulator in Washington was calling the shots rather than a state insurance commissioner in Louisiana?

– although it’s hard to think it could be any worse than we had with the inmates running the asylum.

Other opposition to the concept of an optional national charter is more tactfully stated – publicly. Continue reading ““Pick your option” – just say no!”

Idealogy defeating reason

Since becoming Sop’s partner on slabbed, it’s been a continuing challenge to apply my background in health insurance to the post-Katrina issues of property insurance. Being uninsured can be hazardous to your health lightened my load today.

...insurance is not just a luxury. It can be a matter of life and death.

While a lack of health insurance can literally be a matter of life and death, the meaning can be both literal and figurative when applied to property issues of property insurance – evident in the survey data collected in Ocean Springs as well as in the increase in suicides on the Coast – an increase similar to that I suspect will also surface in violent death rates and/or incidence of physical violence.

A better understanding of the interrelated nature of physical health and financial health – and the differences in the way these two different systems of insurance function – is fundamental to a solution for the current health care financing crisis and the growing crisis in the property insurance industry. Continue reading “Idealogy defeating reason”

A Quick Tour

Over the past two weeks our readership has grown dramatically as we close in on matching our March totals in just 11days in April. Nowdy and I wish to thank our readers, especially our return visitors.

Like the March Report where I detailed some of our more popular posts for the month of March 2008 I thought I’d compile a list of my favorite insurance posts from the inception of the blog in December 2007.

We start by examining the concepts of weather modeling with some help from Sam Friedman over the National Underwriter. Small changes in the model inputs can mean big differences on your bill, as the Boston Globe noted in an editorial that we covered. The issues raised in the Globe editorial touch on the concepts of Market Transparency which is discussed here. Continue reading “A Quick Tour”

Subsidy for Dummies (who think the insurance industry isn’t subsidized)

When the opposition to HR3121 started talking nasty-nice about the subsidy for wind damage, I knew it was time to write Subsidy for Dummies (who think the insurance industry isn’t subsidized).

You see, those most likely to oppose HR3121 are also likely to already benefit from various government subsidies as much, if not more, than others as tax breaks are the most common form of government subsidy – monetary support the government provides to individuals or enterprises when such support is deemed to be in the public interest.

Consequently, a tax break for whatever purpose – even one for sending your kids to college – is a subsidy and so is the fee paid to insurance companies for the cost of processing claims payable from the National Flood Insurance Program. Continue reading “Subsidy for Dummies (who think the insurance industry isn’t subsidized)”

Louisiana Public Adjusters Qui Tam Suit Appeal (Updated)

One of the more interesting twists in our post Katrina insurance saga was the public adjusters suit filed in Louisiana against several insurers in May of last year which contained some very specific allegations of wind claims dumping on the National Flood Insurance Program.  Little did the public adjusters know at the time was that Dickie Scruggs has filed a similar suit under seal against many of the same insurers on behalf over several insured here on the coast and the Rigsby sisters.  At the time my very non-legal thought was the suits should be joined because they involved very similar issues but involved actions in two states, different kinds of flooding and the differing fact patterns that result from that.

Later we would find out in the world of Qui Tam that it is essentially first come, first served and since Mr Scruggs filed the first lawsuit, the Louisiana suit was dismissed.  Again my non legal mind had difficulties comprehending the logic involved in dismissing the Louisiana case which on it’s face involved different issues but my experience in the business world has taught me that logic and the law, while not mutually exclusive, also do not share space on the same page in the book of life. Continue reading “Louisiana Public Adjusters Qui Tam Suit Appeal (Updated)”