What we have here is an old fashioned media brawl, let’s jump in

I spent some time catching up on all things Mississippi across the media spectrum yesterday and what I found was rich. Let’s start with some hypocrisy:

Non-profit journalism ~ Wyatt Emmerich

Emmerich’s piece reveals to his readers the new not for profit kid on the Mississippi Media scene, Mississippi Today as he pans the nonprofit news model:

For decades, traditional media outlets have struggled to resist editorial pressure from advertisers. This pressure will be far more intense from direct contributors.

It is at that point that I started giggling because Emmerich revealed the basic weakness in both journalistic business models. That said there is no denying Patsy Brumfield and others did a fantastic job covering state government in detail over the past legislative session, a very worthy journalistic beat which lends itself well to what is called “enterprise reporting”.

It is that bit of sunshine shown by Mississippi Today that I think has given the far right wing media heartburn because there is a new kid on the block that does not necessarily drink the Mississippi GOP Koolaid and when this past legislative session was stripped naked with the specter of GOP legislators being told how to vote via text message it was not a pretty sight. Add to that the fact Mississippi Today is a new competitor to the for-profit outlets so there is going to be a natural tension between some of the market participants. It is rich. Continue reading “What we have here is an old fashioned media brawl, let’s jump in”

As the fools play: Pissin’ away your tax dollars

After all folks we have tax money to burn when it comes to Hollywood giveaways so first the theme song of the Mississippi legislature:

Yelling ‘Cut!’ for Moviemaking Tax Breaks: States keep discovering that the dreamed-of benefits don’t materialize. ~ Chris Hudon and Donald Bryson

And despite the overwhelming evidence these taxpayer Film incentives are spend a dollar to gain a quarter type propositions that make absolutely no economic sense, one of the major accomplishments of the 2015 Mississippi legislature was finally instituting this taxpayer funded giveaway to out of state business interests. Its not that the leadership in this state being backwards that makes this so bad. Its that the leadership is both late and backwards that helps keep us snake bit when it comes to economic development. Meantime the fools play (with your tax money). Continue reading “As the fools play: Pissin’ away your tax dollars”

A few things are very clear….

  1. Interest in the doings at the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources remains very high here on the Gulf Coast.
  2. Now is the time of year that public interest groups and others are honing their legislative agendas for the January 2015 session of the Mississippi legislature.

Regarding the first item Slabbed will continue to take an interest a state agency that continues to generate public interest in my readers. Regarding the second I am happy to work with those people that promote a fiscally conservative message. This includes elimination of the Franchise Tax which I am told Lite Gov Tate Reeves is planning to push in the State Senate.

Finally, in other news I am told that the endorsement machine for 24th JDC Division O candidate John Sudderth has ended as the Greater New Orleans GOP yesterday endorsed Thomas Anselmo, Jr. for the 24th JDC Division O seat.  Given Sudderth’s murky background I was mildly surprised the Parish GOP executive committee and the Alliance for Good Government have endorsed Sudderth for the Division O seat, which encompasses areas on the West Bank of the Mississippi River.  With well over a month to the election I am told Anselmo is closing some of the gap with Danyelle Taylor, who my political sources have identified as the early frontrunner in the race.  Both Anselmo and Taylor actually live on the Westbank and politically that is important in Division O.

Watered down policyholder legislation still hanging on in the Mississippi Legislature

I have a trio of stories from last week’s Sun Herald on the efforts to pass consumer friendly insurance legislation this legislative session. Regular Slabbed readers know that consumers have not had much of a chance in our special interest owned legislature but there are some signs that we must be closing in on an election year because a watered down policyholder bill of rights finally made it out of committee in the State House of Representatives as the Sun Herald’s Michael Newsom explains:

The state House Insurance Committee passed a compromise version of the “policyholder’s bill of rights” Tuesday, which kept the bill alive ahead of a legislative deadline to clear committee.

But if the bill passes the full House, it may face long odds in the Senate Insurance Committee, which hasn’t taken up similar post-Hurricane Katrina insurance reform measures.

The House Insurance Committee passed House Bill 563 unanimously. It would put into law language from a court decision that says the burden of proof is on the insurance company to prove an exclusion in a policy applies to a claim. The bill also requires insurers to notify homeowners if they intend to increase the premium by 10 percent or more, by sending written notice of the increase 30 days before the renewal date, among other provisions. If the company doesn’t send notice in time, the policy renews at the same rate.

This next bit of language left me scratching my head and makes me wonder how low the cumulative insurance IQ of the State House of Representatives is because adjusting claims has nothing to do with “actuarial principles”: Continue reading “Watered down policyholder legislation still hanging on in the Mississippi Legislature”

Insurance Reforms die once again in our special interest owned legislature

Having seen our do nothing legislature in action up close and personal I was not surprised to see this morning’s front page story in the Sun Herald which declared dead every meaningful consumer friendly insurance proposal introduced this legislative session including the basic policyholder protections contained in a policyholder bill of rights. Here on Slabbed we’re not nice in that we name names and point out broken promises unlike a typical newspaper which will rip a pol on page 1 while endorsing his re-election bid on the opinion page. For better or worse it is a reflection of my style from the finance boards where I post with money on the line. With that in mind let’s break down Michael Newsom’s report:

Several bills South Mississippi lawmakers submit annually in response to insurance issues discovered after Hurricane Katrina are poised to die Tuesday without debate in legislative committees.

Each year, Coast lawmakers submit various versions of the “policyholders bill of rights” designed to protect homeowners in the event they file an insurance claim and also measures removing the “anti-concurrent causation” clause, which insurance companies used to deny payment of wind damage claims in cases where they said water also played a role. Court cases and insurance law experts have said the clauses don’t apply to hurricanes because the two weather events cause different kinds of damages.

I don’t know if this is bad editing or bad journalism but once again we see anti concurrent causation slaughtered by a reporter. To understand the ACC all one must understand is the definition of concurrent:

1. operating or occurring at the same time. Continue reading “Insurance Reforms die once again in our special interest owned legislature”

State Senator David Baria on the House Insurance Committee’s Visit to the Coast

Senator Baria serves in the minority on the GOP controled Senate Insurance Committee which has blocked every meaningful consumer friendly piece of legislation passed by the State House. I do not share his more optimistic spin on last Tuesday’s public gathering but I also do not question his commitment to his constituents in senate district 46. He wrote a good account of the gathering in his blog and evidently, in the spirit of bipartisanship, left out Commissioner Chaney’s pollyanna advice for coast consumers to shop around in the wind market of 1. For my part I wonder of the Sun Herald still feels good about endorsing Mr Chaney last year. Something tells me they are getting a case of heartburn.

The Insurance Committee of the Mississippi House of Representatives held a public forum in Biloxi last night. The event was well attended by Coast citizens and other interested individuals, including representatives of the insurance industry. Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney was among the invited speakers as was his Deputy Lee Harrell. It became clear very early into the forum that the majority of the residents in attendance were still having major problems with the acquisition of affordable insurance. There were also many individuals with disturbing stories of how their insurance company treated them in denying their claims. We have all either experienced something similar or have a friend or family member who has. It is nothing new to hear these stories. However, I was impressed with the passion with which they were told three years post-Katrina. Obviously, the people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast are still hurting from not only the worst natural disaster to ever affect the U.S., but also from the insurance industry’s callous indifference in the months and years following Katrina. Add to the emotional mix the fact that insurance outside of the wind pool is virtually unattainable for us and is seldom affordable when it can be found, and you have a miserable recipe for the people of the Gulf Coast. Continue reading “State Senator David Baria on the House Insurance Committee’s Visit to the Coast”

State Senator David Baria on the House Insurance Committee's Visit to the Coast

Senator Baria serves in the minority on the GOP controled Senate Insurance Committee which has blocked every meaningful consumer friendly piece of legislation passed by the State House. I do not share his more optimistic spin on last Tuesday’s public gathering but I also do not question his commitment to his constituents in senate district 46. He wrote a good account of the gathering in his blog and evidently, in the spirit of bipartisanship, left out Commissioner Chaney’s pollyanna advice for coast consumers to shop around in the wind market of 1. For my part I wonder of the Sun Herald still feels good about endorsing Mr Chaney last year. Something tells me they are getting a case of heartburn.

The Insurance Committee of the Mississippi House of Representatives held a public forum in Biloxi last night. The event was well attended by Coast citizens and other interested individuals, including representatives of the insurance industry. Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney was among the invited speakers as was his Deputy Lee Harrell. It became clear very early into the forum that the majority of the residents in attendance were still having major problems with the acquisition of affordable insurance. There were also many individuals with disturbing stories of how their insurance company treated them in denying their claims. We have all either experienced something similar or have a friend or family member who has. It is nothing new to hear these stories. However, I was impressed with the passion with which they were told three years post-Katrina. Obviously, the people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast are still hurting from not only the worst natural disaster to ever affect the U.S., but also from the insurance industry’s callous indifference in the months and years following Katrina. Add to the emotional mix the fact that insurance outside of the wind pool is virtually unattainable for us and is seldom affordable when it can be found, and you have a miserable recipe for the people of the Gulf Coast. Continue reading “State Senator David Baria on the House Insurance Committee's Visit to the Coast”

Mississippi House Insurance Committee to Hold Hearing on the Coast

Of course the House Insurance Committee are the good guys in Mississippi. The problem with getting basic consumer protections lies int he Senate with Lt Gov. Phil Bryant and his hand picked insurance committee chair Buck Clark.

The meeting is tonight at the Colseum per the Sun Herald.

The state House Insurance Committee will hold a public meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Coast Coliseum to hear the concerns of South Mississippi residents as well as business and civic leaders about insurance issues.

Rep. Michael Janus, R-Biloxi, said the meeting would give legislators from upstate a chance to hear the concerns of Coast residents firsthand and also might help get legislation passed.

“I think the ultimate goal is to utilize input we get out of this to hopefully formulate some legislation in the upcoming session that will assist in making insurance attainable and affordable on the Gulf Coast,” Janus said.

Insurance Committee Chairman Rep. Walter Robinson, D-Bolton, and other members of the committee will attend.

Last year the House Insurance Committee passed a “policyholders’ bill of rights” that would have put the burden on insurers to prove a claim is not covered in a policy when there is a dispute, but it failed in the Senate. Other insurance-reform bills introduced in the Senate also died. Most post-Katrina insurance reforms have failed in the Legislature. Continue reading “Mississippi House Insurance Committee to Hold Hearing on the Coast”