Allstate files Answer in Branch – and this I couldn’t make up!

My calendar was marked with the due date for Allstate’s Answer to the Branch SAC (Second Amended Complaint); and, given the Allstate Motion for Extension of Time…and…Page Limits, I expected the “good hands” to mix things up:

In its notice of nonintervention filed in Denenea, the Government stated that ‘with the addition of Allstate as a defendant in Branch Consultants, the question of whether the jurisdictional bar under 31 U.S.C. § 3730(b)(5) is triggered as to either the relator in Denenea or the relator in Branch Consultants arises’…Allstate seeks a ten day extension of the deadline for it to respond to the SAC so that Allstate may address the impact of the Denenea action on the viability of the SAC’s claims against Allstate…

Allstate also respectfully moves for an extension of the page limit…In addition to the issues raised by the Denenea action, Allstate’s motion will address the first-to-file, res judicata, and law of the case issues raised by the Rigsby complaint and this Court’s and the Fifth Circuit’s prior rulings dismissing Allstate under the first-to-file rule.”

Allstate, however, did more than just mix things up.  The Company’s Answer to the Branch complaint reads as if Abbott and Constello were heading Allstate’s legal team and offering who-filed-first as a defense! Continue reading “Allstate files Answer in Branch – and this I couldn’t make up!”

Homie Dave Treutel snags a spot on the NFIP advisory board

I’ve known Dave pretty much all my life. He comes from a fine family and is a fine choice for the insurance industry advisory board to the NFIP.  Being from Bay St Louis he had a ring side seat after Katrina to the myriad of ways insurers defrauded the NFIP for example and witnessed first hand the human toll of the bad faith claims handling procedures employed by certain insurers, so he takes the human equation with him to the quarterly DC meetings as well.  Dave’s business acumen means he also has a good understanding of the internal controls needed at NFIP, most notably a bit of oversight, to insure that major retail insurers never defraud the program again.

Anita Lee has all the details at the Sun Herald and in a great example of a broken clock being right twice a day, she even snagged some quotes from Jimbo the Clown’s sidekick, Mississippi Insurance commissioner Mikey “The Cook” Chaney who shares our sentiments about Dave and what he brings to the table.  Unfortunately for the citizens of Mississippi, Mikey does not recognize fraud even when it bites him on the ass unless it is an individual defrauding a major multinational insurer. Fortunately for us at Slabbed, Mikey doesn’t know when to shut his mouth but such is a common trait with the political class. We’ll be visiting on him again soon.

Again our congratulations to Dave Treutel and we’re delighted to have in him as our voice within the NFIP.  Well done Dave!


And while Phil waxes nonsensical let's not forget to record the musings of Mississippi's Teletubby in charge

Haley Barbour and staff just before commenting on the oil spill


Folks, you are not misreading the quote dutifully chronicled by the Sun Herald’s Karen Nelson, Haley said he trusts the Army Corps of Engineers

Gov. Haley Barbour and DMR Director Bill Walker said Thursday they trust the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers not to allow Louisiana to build any berm or sand barriers east of the mouth of Mississippi River that would cause oil to flow into Mississippi waters. 

Good thing you trust them Haley because no one down here does. 

Its gets better though because Haley and Phil evidently have their talking points and they are sticking with them by God

Gov. Haley Barbour, in a news conference Thursday, said the brown-orange mousse that has been washing ashore in Louisiana is not dangerous. Continue reading “And while Phil waxes nonsensical let's not forget to record the musings of Mississippi's Teletubby in charge”

Nationwide’s $6million dollar settlement – a snapshot of profit when there’s not “a dimes worth of difference” in the price of drywall

A hat tip to the reader who sent a link to the news of the Nationwide settlement – and must be reading the title of this post wondering what I’ve got under my hat!

Checks are headed to the mailboxes of 230,000 current and former Nationwide term-life insurance customers across the country, settling a class-action lawsuit against the Columbus-based company…Nationwide agreed to pay a $6 million settlement in connection with a suit filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court in 2005, which alleged that the company collected more than the maximum annual premiums outlined in their policies, according to court documents…Nationwide had been accused in the lawsuit of fraud and violating Ohio consumer-protection laws.

The suit charged that customers who paid semi-annually, quarterly or monthly were charged more than the maximum premium. Those who paid once a year were not charged additional fees…The average check will be for $47, said Marc Stanley, an attorney with the settlement administrator.

Obviously, the case had nothing to do with the cost of drywall or the alleged manipulation of price lists used to adjust claims following Hurricane Katrina.  However, it provides a perspective for looking at the mantra of insures’ defense of pricing differences – “there’s not a dime’s worth of difference”.  A small amount due one policyholder adds up to big dollars when the amount due all similarly situated policyholders is totaled.

So, now do u c it?


higher and higher – the latest from the Sun Herald’s Anita Lee on the increasing cost of insurance

How many count a good credit rating among their losses from Hurricane Katrina?  Logic suggests more than just a few.  Everything in thousands of homes had to be replaced; income, and in some cases,  jobs were lost; and, as SLABBED readers know, there are insurance claims that have yet to be paid and untold thousands underpaid.

In a weekend Sun Herald story, Bad credit can mean higher insurance premiums, Anita Lee reports the latest bite-you-in-the-behind news that makes  Katrina, the Hurricane that keeps on giving to those on the Coast who saw their credit score go south following the storm.

Coastal policyholders are well aware a hurricane is guaranteed to hike insurance rates, but fewer realize their credit reports also are factored into homeowner and automobile insurance premiums.

Consumers who have suffered financial setbacks because of the economy are seeing higher homeowner and auto insurance premiums…

Insurance companies contend consumers with bad credit tend to file more property insurance claims. Consumer advocates question the accuracy of studies that find a correlation between credit and risk.

Stories like this are a reminder that there are lies, damned lies, and statistics – and that many insurers are guilty on all three counts – but for the moment, let’s just focus on the statistics used to justify credit-based premium increases. Continue reading “higher and higher – the latest from the Sun Herald’s Anita Lee on the increasing cost of insurance”

How about some grilled Commish for lunch? Mike Chaney admits his office is in over its head.

You bet he went to Biloxi to hold hands with the only major Mississippi newspaper to endorse him last election. The conversation as reported by the Sun Herald ace reporter Anita Lee is stunning in its implications beyond Nationwide’s intention to raise rates state wide:

Chaney also said that he and neighboring insurance commissioners have set up a private e-mail system to exchange information. Expertise on the state insurance staffs varies and money is short, so the commissioners lean on one another to help analyze financial information.

My suggestion is they lean harder. I don’t envy Mr Chaney, because he has Jimbo the Clown on the left and the joker on the right. Then again the commenting citizenry doesn’t seem to think much of our commish either. Well at least it inspired today’s music video.



Let’s talk consumers, public perceptions and insurance. Allow me to introduce our Kingsway readers to the Slabbed Nation

Yeah I know it must hurt some of y’all reading my post that introduced Kingsway Financial Services to our readers and probably less consolation that the average Slabbed reader is very well heeled representing the cream of retail P&C insurance, their lawyers, offshore reinsurers, consumer lawyers and our political establishment. I also suspect some of ya’ll are still scratching your heads wondering what a blog from Soggy  Bottom Mississippi is doing covering the world of insurance (Lynda and I haven’t finished chatting as of the date and time of the composition of this post so please feel free to join that conversation too) and high finance. Well wonder no more, just thank Ed Rust, Ed Liddy, Jerry Jurgensen and their hatchet men as we come from a strange world where drywall seems to cost more when the claim was adjusted on the taxpayer dime. We know you are out there as our site traffic has bumped up a good bit since that first Kingsway post.

So rather than highlight the reported Kingsway “Nigerian” Free Prize scam, I’d decided to take a stab at stimulating a conversation Continue reading “Let’s talk consumers, public perceptions and insurance. Allow me to introduce our Kingsway readers to the Slabbed Nation”

Perhaps Lynda can explain why this is the policyholder’s fault?

From the oral arguments in Corban, of which Lynda is obviously not familar. In Nationwide’s world it wasn’t the covered peril that controls, rather the mythical uncovered peril that might have destroyed the property had that pesky covered peril not occured.

JUSTICE PIERCE: So you’re sequencing, if 95 percent of the home was destroyed, and then we have the event of the storm surge, then you would not pay a dime?

MR. LANDAU: Your Honor, if we prove that the storm surge was sufficient to cause – we have that burden, again, and that is absolutely crystal clear.

If we can prove that the storm surge was sufficient to cause all of this, it is no answer then to say, ‘Yeah, but I’m going to show it — I’m going to have somebody come in and say, “Look, guess what, the window was broken before the storm surge came and then wiped away the whole house.

But you don’t get into those kind Continue reading “Perhaps Lynda can explain why this is the policyholder’s fault?”

Corban v USAA – counting by the calendar

It was not as if I had forgotten about Corban; but Bam – a virus called anti-concurrent cause – Bam – the ACC virus continued – and I’m thinking Corban every day and not just on hand-down Thursday. FireShot capture #042 - 'June 2009 Calendar – United States' - www_timeanddate_com_calendar_monthly_html_year=2009&month=6&country=1

You’d think after Nationwide spilled the beans, the Supremes would be in a hurry to protect policyholders with cases still in litigation; but, then again, maybe they think with all the beans on the table, it’s such a no-brainer they can take their time.

One justice asked Nationwide whether ACC would exclude coverage in a case where a home was 95% destroyed by wind before any flooding…According to…[Nationwide]…it does not matter what actually caused the damage.  If the subsequent flooding would have caused it, the damage is covered by NFIP and not Nationwide. FireShot capture #043 - 'July 2009 Calendar – United States' - www_timeanddate_com_calendar_monthly_html_year=2009&month=7&country=1

On the other hand,  the Supremes may be like Nationwide’s policyholders – in a state of shock after learning Nationwide is on Nationwide’s side. Continue reading “Corban v USAA – counting by the calendar”

Keeping score #4 – Who’s calling the game?

After a review of the pleadings and the applicable law, and considering argument of counsel, the Court finds as follows…

Who made the call?

The actual issue now before the Court is whether discovery propounded and responded to in state court is valid and enforceable and whether or not the limitations of 30 contained in the federal court case management order should be interpreted to include the already propounded state court discovery. Had counsel raised the issue, it is probable that the undersigned would have allowed a very limited amount of additional discovery. Because no attorney mentioned the prior discovery, the usual limitation of thirty was included in the case management order. Unaware of the state court discovery when the order was entered, the undersigned had no “intent” either way by entry of the Order…

Who made the call?

Counsel have both submitted pertinent cases…Some of the cases involve discovery propounded but not answered prior to removal. The law is clear that this discovery is no longer answerable, as Rule 26 specifically provides that no party shall serve or seek discovery from any source until after the attorney conference required in Rule 26(f). The law is less clear as to discovery which was both served and answered in state court.

After careful review of the authoritiesContinue reading “Keeping score #4 – Who’s calling the game?”