First up is the RollingStone’s Matt Taibbi take down of the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman, who likely has no clue how the average American citizen lives their daily lives. Friedman, likely the wealthiest journalist in the country, is an unabashed proponent of globalization that sees the world divided into two factions, those that like the trend towards the globalization of the world’s economy and those that don’t.
The problem for Friedman being the entire topic is far more complicated than simply painting the opponents of globalization as election year losers (think Bernie Sanders supporters and soon Trump’s). To understand where I’m going with this you must first read Taibbi’s piece because the price of globalization is inequality (income, political and other) along the decimation of the United States middle class. These built in inequalities drove the Brexit vote and no doubt plays a role in the thinking of both Trump and Sanders supporters, which I’m going to illustrate with a picture a reader sent me a while back:
Those that follow Slabbed’s twitter timeline have witnessed our coverage of the downsizing of the New Orleans RDS office, which I’m getting from a very well placed source. Shell has not exactly made a secret of what they are doing downsizing its New Orleans office but you can’t view what is happening now through the same lens used to examine previous oil patch bust layoffs. Here is an edited comment from Slabbed’s source on the current happenings in NOLA at RDS: Continue reading “Twofer Tuesday Business”
Lets take a trip down memory lane folks to those less pleasant days after Hurricane Katrina when everyone was busting a$$ trying to get shelter. Those like me that were slabbed out had rebuilding choices to make. Those that were flooded out had a seemingly more straightforward choice to make in fixing or selling the shell. Haley Barbour was even Johnny on the spot passing out homeowners grants to assist those that were outside the flood zone that flooded but the grants had a catch in putting a covenant on your land requiring flood insurance, essentially in perpetuity.
Call Steven Palazzo at (202) 225-5772 and ask him why he put the interests of a multinational insurer ahead of the people that elected him. Ask him why an insurance company that does does nothing but push a few papers get 30%, that’s right 30%, of the exorbitant flood premiums FEMA will be charging. Tell him you’ll be voting for someone next year that represents the people of South Mississippi instead of a national political party, his double dealing family and insurance execs from Illinois. Continue reading “Because each and every one of them sold us out and voted for it: An NFIP Disaster Update”
A bit over a week ago a print journalist familiar with Slabbed’s coverage of the post Katrina insurance wars sent me this link to a National Underwriter top 10 insurance living legends piece that featured Dickie Scruggs (one notch above true living legend Karen Clark) at the 7 spot. We used to feature the NU a good bit on Slabbed but that ended after they ignored the insurance industry getting its ass kicked in Corban v USAA where Nationwide Insurance’s lawyers made particular asses of themselves asserting wind coverage was properly denied if, after the wind 99% destroys the covered property, storm surge destroys the other 1%. The industry contends in such a scenario taxpayer provided coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program was the proper source of coverage and that is exactly the way they adjusted their claims here after Katrina tendering flood insurance policies pretty much sight unseen and denying any wind coverage that would come from their coffers.
For those of you folks still wondering why the country is broke after figuring out it is not the union pipe fitter that goes to work everyday for 6AM at the shipyard, or school teacher unions or Mexican ditch diggers, I’d submit if you multiply the above scenario 1000 times and you’d find the answer as most of the politicians that matter on any level are owned by some special interest. To illustrate the point allow me to update several insurance business world stories Slabbed covered in years gone by and start with that NU story I linked above.
A few weeks ago word filtered out the Rigsby sisters false claims act complaint against State Farm would be moving to trial on the exemplar claim known around the blogs as McIntosh v State Farm. State Farm is PR savvy and when that case heats up, invariably David Rossmiller, a partner at the Portland Oregon insurance defense firm of Dunn Carney pops up like a fly on shit regaling us with his knowledge of the minutiae of insurance contract law. Since Rossie, as he is known on Slabbed, surfaced blogging on Hurricane wind water cases of the type he has never tried in Oregon, it naturally aroused suspicions locally that he was an adjunct of State Farm PR, a view now widely shared in the local print media in South Mississippi. Back in the day Rossie was a darling in local insurance defense circles and on the Hard Line GOP political resource YallPolitics in the blogosphere, which still features the insurance litigation here on the coast in a section termed Scruggs scandal and it is indeed a popular insurance industry meme that the wind damage down here was all a figment of Dick Scruggs imagination thus the lumping. Scapegoating trial lawyers in still popular in GOP circles folks but that stands to reason since the GOP is the party of big business special interests but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Say “model” this time of year and even SLABBED’s most faithful readers are more likely to think “Sports Illustrated” than “hurricane”. On looks alone, there’s no doubt which of the two models has the most immediate impact. Long-term impact, however, is a different matter. The new hurricane risk models will be reflected in the availability and cost of insurance coverage for years to come while SI models change from year-to-year.
Now I know some of y’all pucker up when I term GOP politicos as corporate bootlickers but I offer as Exhibit A apologizing Joe Barton, the GOP bootlicking congressman that could not wait to drop and genuflect before BP’s Tony Hayward when he came calling on congress last year during the spill. Once upon a time Republicans favored the rule of law, free markets and competition over corporate handouts and bailouts from the treasury and groveling. ‘Tis is why I left the fold several years ago.
You folks reckon wind insurance price gouging would end if our political leaders exhibited the kind of sack towards insurers that Obama did in the drill moratorium with big oil?
Don’t hold yer breath waiting on the hollow one to engage insurance as Ed Rust owns him.
Thursday, January 6th, 2011
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
A HAPPY NEW YEAR FOR INSURANCE RATES ALONG THE GULF COAST? NOT REALLY!
So happy New Year! And by the way, get ready for higher property insurance rates along the Gulf Coast, particularly in Louisiana. One would think that if anything, homeowner’s rates would be going down. After all, there has been virtually no hurricane activity in the Gulf for the past four years. And with the national economic slump, home prices have dropped which should translate into lower insurance rates. Not so say the experts. Here are a few reasons why many states, particularly my home state of Louisiana, will see higher rates in the coming year.
Huge claims for the BP Gulf Oil spill will definitely boost insurance rates for the oil industry. No one at this stage can even guess what the final insurance costs will be from both the damage and years of ligation from the Gulf spill. Most of the larger oil companies are self insured, which means they will have to divert funds from operating costs into designated reserve funds. Independent companies, that produce both oil and gas, will see their insurance costs go up. Higher insurance costs mean cut backs, possible layoffs, and higher prices for both oil and gas. And those insurance companies that have taken a big hit over the Gulf spill will have no choice but to raise rates for all lines of insurance, including homeowners.
Citizens Property Insurance Company in Louisiana continues to run amok, and be a factor in higher insurance rates. Louisiana taxpayers are on the hook for well over a billion dollars because of the state created company’s mismanagement. The company is now bragging that it has reduced the number of policies it is selling. But this becomes a catch 22. As Citizens looses customers, the overall risk increases. A new study by the Insurance Information Institute pointed out the Louisiana state run plan still maintains a “precarious financial condition.” Simple translation — it’s broke, and will be for years. Last month the company asked the Louisiana Insurance Department for an increase that in some south Louisiana parishes will top 24%. Continue reading “Jim Brown”