And if you think he is good at pumping gas, wait until you see him spit shine John Boehner's shoes: The AP calls out Steven Palazzo for being a lying sack of shit politician.

Folks there is a difference between critical reporting and reporting on politics critically. No doubt some of the recipients of my barbs would insist my missives are unduly critical and there is likely a kernel of truth in that criticism but it is equally true the art of reporting on politics critically is missing from the Mississippi traditional media landscape save just a few souls, none of whom are in the 6 coastal counties. I say all this because the country is paying attention while the locals are being regaled with cheap pre-planned photo ops masquerading as news.

I’ll admit that last week when I saw on the WLOX late news Congressman Steven Palazzo in a near top of the news story pumping gas for his constituents in Jackson County while sharing their concerns over gas prices I was not surprised.  WLOX is part of a chain of small market TeeVee stations owned by Blue Cross so seeing such fluff there did not surprise me. I was disappointed though the next day to see the Sun Herald devote scare reporting resources to the topic, which is evidently a cheap GOP PR trick these days.

Now I was not the only person disappointed to see such fluff passed off as news as the readers (including moi) were not shy about sharing their views on the topic in comments. I mean Jeezus H Christ we have some of the very highest homeowner’s insurance rates in the country, a topic the State Farm supported Palazzo has not engaged.  Because it costs several thousand dollars to insure even modest homes it is no surprise the coast lead the nation in median real estate price declines in Q1 2011 as ordinary people, stretched to the limit by the triple threat combo of high insurance, high gas prices and high food prices are losing their property to foreclosure or are wholesaling it trying to hang on for a solution to the one problem that has not been addressed by the State’s GOP leadership in the 6 years since Katrina save throwing taxpayer money at Bermudan reinsurers for sky high re-insurance. Continue reading “And if you think he is good at pumping gas, wait until you see him spit shine John Boehner's shoes: The AP calls out Steven Palazzo for being a lying sack of shit politician.”

My brother Darryl and my brother Darryl – and we’re all in this together Part Trois: The multiperil drumbeat continues. An occasional series.

Very occasional in fact though Part 1 brought tears to the eyes of Mr CLS over at Yahoo ALL (and I bet he still has that old link) and remains one of our all time greatest finance posts considering Nowdy wrote it. That is not a knock on my partner-in-blog as much recognition that someone who was previously illiterate in high finance could “see-it” around the time we were 6 months old as a blog. This global insurance thing is a complicated critter.

There are people on the bottom of this critter who live here on Main Street. Included in that number are the insurance agents who live in our communities across the coast from Bar Harbor, Maine to Brownsville, Texas. A few years ago, at an insurance forum similar to the event held today at USM Gulf Coast, Congressman Taylor was heckled by an irate insurance agent who was forcibly removed from the building by security.  Today during Q&A State Farm agent Elvis Gates told the panel he was behind their efforts 100% as he didn’t get paid on policies he didn’t sell. My own agent’s office mostly looks deserted during business hours.  These days everyone is feeling the pain. Elvis seems like he is a sharp guy.

The marketplace demands a single solution in an all perils policy. With State Farm pulling out the NFIP after being caught with their hand in the taxpayer cookie jar agents like Mr Gates have been made a casualty along with the rate paying public in the communities where they live.  My own personal observation is that Allstate agents are farther along the path to disillusionment after being sacrificed en mass during the evil reign of Ed Liddy. Our readers may remember ol’ Ed was brought in to right AIG during the financial implosion in 2008. Continue reading “My brother Darryl and my brother Darryl – and we’re all in this together Part Trois: The multiperil drumbeat continues. An occasional series.”

Save the date and exercise your brain with Sop: The RAND Gulf States Policy Institute is hosting an Insurance Forum on October 20

The forum’s title, Gulf Coast Insurance Forum: What’s Wrong with the Insurance Market Along the Gulf Coast and How Do We Fix It? pretty much says it all. It is being held next Wednesday, October 20 9:00 AM sharp at the Fleming Education Center Auditorium at USM Gulf Park in Long Beach.

According to the folks at Source Watch RAND Corp “ranked fifth in the latest survey of think tank media citations by FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting)” and is considered centrist.  IMHO their work in the area of insuring right tail catastrophes like hurricanes has been very good as they tackle the issues from a broader standpoint that is not found in the insurance industry’s bought and paid for university research from places like U Penn.

The panel includes folks in the trenches with this issue everyday in David Treutel, Gene Taylor and Steve Scalise.  Senator Wicker will have his policy guy there as well. This forum is sponsored by the Gulf Coast Business Council, the regional voice of the Mississippi coast business community.

I’d like to issue a special invite to the Slabbed Nation and especially our friend Lynda in central Mississippi to come join me and party the day away cussin’ and discussin’ the very real problem of the dysfunctional coastal wind insurance market.


Breaking: US House of Representatives passes partial repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson Anti Trust Exemption

(H/T Mr CLS:) Our readers may recall that fractious House Democratic caucus we covered around one month ago. There were 4 points made by the Congressman to the slabbed, and it appears Madam Speaker is listening to the good advice she was given. Those 4 points:

  • repeal the insurance antitrust exemption
  • repeal the “Tauzin deal” that prohibits Medicare from negotiating prices with drug companies
  • require generic drugs in Medicare unless the doctor certifies that a brand name drug is medically necessary
  • require insurance plans to offer parents the option to cover their children up to age 27

None of these items will cost taxpayers a dime and in fact would save money. Nowdy and I founded Slabbed 2 years and 2 months ago based upon a few simple principles which is well illustrated by the following Margaret Mead quote:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Continue reading “Breaking: US House of Representatives passes partial repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson Anti Trust Exemption”

BREAKING: Gene Taylor Joins 14 Other US Representatives Urging Speaker Pelosi to Revoke the Anti-Trust Exemptions for Health Insurance Companies



WASHINGTON, DC – Reps. Gene Taylor (D-MS) Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Bart Stupak (D-MI) today sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi urging her to include language in the health reform bill that would require the health insurance industry to operate under the same anti-trust laws as all other industries.

“Insurance companies should not be above the law.”  Rep. Taylor stated. “While this effort applies only to health insurance, Congress should follow up and repeal the antitrust exemption for all lines of insurance.”

The health insurance industry–as well as all other lines of insurance–has operated beyond the reach of America’s anti-trust laws since the McCarran-Ferguson Act was passed by Congress in 1945. This exemption was intended to be temporary, but it has not turned out that way. The insurance industry claims that are currently subject to state anti-trust laws. The truth is many states have limited resources to investigate and go after anti-trust violations.

Repealing the antiquated McCarran-Ferguson law would effectively end insurance company collusion and bring much-needed competition to the industry. The Consumer Federation of America has said that this action alone would save consumers more than $40 billion in insurance premiums.

The letter, also signed by Reps. John W. Olver, Daniel Lipinski, Pete Visclosky, Raul Grijalva, Betty Sutton, Elijah E. Cummings, Dennis Kucinich, Eric Massa, Earl Blumenauer, Brian Baird and Bob Filner, is available below: Continue reading “BREAKING: Gene Taylor Joins 14 Other US Representatives Urging Speaker Pelosi to Revoke the Anti-Trust Exemptions for Health Insurance Companies”

Breaking: Gene Taylor Introduces Legislation to Repeal Big Insurance

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 19, 2009                                                       (202) 253-1308

Reps. Defazio, Taylor Defend Taxpayers from Further
AIG and Insurance Industry Greed

Introduce legislation to repeal insurance industry’s antitrust exemption

WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Congressmen Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) today introduced legislation to remove the federal antitrust exemption from the insurance industry. This legislation is particularly important in light of the abuses by American Insurance Group (AIG), operating as if they were above the law. In fact, the current insurance exemption from antitrust laws gave AIG a free pass to become “too big to fail,” and now the U.S taxpayers are on the hook to bail them out or risk even further turmoil in an already fragile economy. This legislation would close that exemption.

“The fact that the insurance industry is exempt from federal anti-trust laws is outrageous. Shouldn’t the $170 billion bailout of AIG be the third and final strike to the “business as usual” attitude toward the insurance industry?  We cannot tolerate these rampant abuses of the system at a massive cost to tax payers,” DeFazio said. “AIG was gambling with people’s life savings and lost it all to speculative and shady transactions and contributed to the current crisis. We must insure this never happens again.”

“Why is anyone surprised?” Taylor said. “Insurance companies believe that they are above the law. When it comes to the federal laws, they are. After Hurricane Katrina, insurance companies took advantage of the lack of federal oversight to bill the National Flood Insurance Program for wind damage. Taxpayers also paid for FEMA trailers, home repair grants, subsidized loans, and tax deductions for property damage that insurance should have covered.”. Continue reading “Breaking: Gene Taylor Introduces Legislation to Repeal Big Insurance”