Well folks, last Friday the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled, in an open and shut case, that Louisiana Citizens did not adjust claims per the consumer protection portion of the state insurance law and was on the hook for bad faith penalties. Despite the split court I’ll add this case was open and shut except in certain results oriented courthouse circles who also know Citizens is insolvent and would give the entity a pass because of it, no doubt to save themselves the insurance assessment that is certainty coming everyone’s way now that the law has been correctly applied.
Here is the AP story on the latest State Farm rate hike via Fox 8, the latest of many such increases since Katrina as we once again point out the absurdity of giving these global financial services conglomerates an anti trust exemption.
Folks disappointed would be the word that describes my reaction to Becky Mowbray’s story that appeared in today’s T-P under the lede New Orleans area deserves better insurance options. I’ll be so bold and suggest that Becky contact Paige St John at the Herald Tribune and Karen Clark, founder of AIR Worldwide because that story in today’s paper was a stinker on several levels IMHO.
The public outreach and education never ends folks. 😉
State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., the state’s largest residential insurer, is asking for an average 9.9 percent rate increase for homeowners coverage in Louisiana.
The filing with the Department of Insurance comes just over a month after Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon rejected the company’s request for an average 19.1 percent rate hike. Donelon called that proposal unreasonable and unjustified.
State Farm received an average 8.3 percent increase last year in Louisiana after asking for 13.7 percent.
Although the average rate hike would be 9.9 percent, hurricane-vulnerable coastal areas would bear the brunt. The New Orleans region would see a 17.7 percent increase while rates in the Lake Charles region would go up 22.5 percent, said State Farm spokeswoman Brooke Cluse…
Cluse said the proposed rates are based on future loss projections and not past claims experience. She said that although State Farm believed its earlier rate increase request was justified, the company was trying to work with regulators to “move closer to adequate rates.”
What a game! Just how many coastal policyholder contracts for coverage did State Farm honor following Hurricane Katrina? Very few, according to the evidence of the multi-state scheme provided in the Rigsby qui tam complaint. What a waste of public resources to put an agency through the process of reviewing an inflated request just to make one “closer to adequate” appear a better deal! Continue reading “What a “good neighbor” – State Farm sticks another knife in coastal economy!”
I recently met with a group of political strategists that noticed our little blog in Soggy Bottom and the information exchange was very enlightening for me. I’m as interested in the mechanics of the story as the story itself and the tales I was told of how these folks manipulated the traditional media were very interesting. More than any other skill set these folks had a keen understanding of human behavior which is a shared passion with us at Slabbed.
The garden variety bashing I sometime engage in to drive traffic sometimes obscures the fact Slabbed is in reality a quest for knowledge as in getting all the facts that surrounded the blanket denials of insurance coverage after Katrina no matter where those facts may lead. This may sound elementary, indeed even simplistic, but I’d submit we stand in stark contrast to our own insurance regulators that ignored all the evidence of fraud on part of their corporate benefactors from the insurance industry after Katrina, Mike Chaney even going so far as to attack the Rigsby sisters, who exposed the fraud perpetrated by State Farm on the US Treasury here in Mississippi. This frankly came as no surprise to me, especially after it came out that the lawyer who ran the market conduct study for Mr Chaney left the Mississippi Department of Insurance for State Farm’s Jackson based law firm.
Insurance companies have lots of money to throw around and spend vast sums of money on shills, propagandists and their own in-house PR departments. These folks are mostly rent an opinion hookers that dispense half-truths in furtherance of their own paychecks. Armed with lots of factoids and ready made quotes, deadline pressed journalists flock to them in droves, often uncritically lapping up the intellectually dishonest drivel folks like the III’s Robert Hartwig, who this past summer passed off a bogus poll about the NFIP to the media. To her credit, Becky Mowbray over at the T-P busted Hartwig and frankly I was amused at Mike Chaney’s blatant duplicity in the Sun Herald’s reporting on the same topic. I guess Chaney tells so many whoppers he can’t keep them all straight but that is another post.
And if thou stare long enough into an abyss, The abyss will also gaze into thee.”
Melville’s Moby Dick is a popular semblance right now for our unquenchable search for oil, and, like Captain Ahab, the consequences that often lead to self destruction. In days of old, whalers ventured further and further into unchartered waters to become excavators of oceanic whale oil that stroked the furnaces of the Industrial Revolution. The same unchartered path has been followed by oil companies pushing technology to new limits. But are they responsibility assessing the risk involved?
The BP gang has continually told us that such a spill never happened before, and therefore they had not anticipated such bleak scenario. That’s the same argument we heard during the financial meltdown from Ben Bernanke and Alan Greenspan when they argued that the housing market would not plummet because “it had never happened before.” But stuff happens. Part of the process is to assess the risk. Time and time again, both industry and government have minimized risk and, in a highly irresponsible way, just played the odds. And much too often, it has turned out to be a bad bet.
Lay the blame for BP’s irresponsible risk taking right at the feet of the United States Congress. Our representatives in Washington passed a little known 1990 law that capped an oil company’s liability, after cleanup costs, at $75 million. For now at least BP has agreed to waive the cap. But who knows for how long? BP stockholders, many of whom have retired on BP dividends, may well feel full justification to challenge disbursement of BP assets when the law says the company is not required to do so. Continue reading “Jim Brown's Weekly Column: Risk Takers Stick it to the Taxpayers”