Gerald Nielsen, the NFIP Katrina and Sandy claims handling topical again here on Slabbed

The chickens are coming home to roost:

FEMA Sets Up Review Process for Sandy Flood Claims ~ Insurance Journal

In light of recent allegations that some insurers in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) may have denied or rejected Superstorm Sandy flood damage claims based on falsified reports, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is now prepared to reopen “every flood insurance claim” filed by Sandy victims, officials announced.

You don’t say. Meantime last night a new commenter stopped in on an old insurance post sharing some information that is worth highlighting:

As someone in the industry who has represented liberty mutual on dozens of their cases it is with certainty that I can say they are the worst slimeballs in the industry second only to State Farm. I have heard their newbie adjusters tell elderly insureds they did not have a claim despite having lost their teeth and fractures to their jaws from slipping on wet floors that had been mopped in dark rooms. I have seen them deny claims that were clearly covered. I have seen them justify and defend cheating beneficiaries of their benefits and I have seen them cheat their own employees.

State Farm just had another reorg and guess who got cut. All of the employees from Mississippi who had to defend Eds Russ and Lecky’s decisions to cheat policyholders. That is how they rewarded their loyal senior staff. It was sad that the local adjusters managers and agents got the shaft for Ed and lecky’s unscrupulous behavior.

Additional vital background can be found here and more recently here.

Because Steven Palazzo is such a pandering, selfish fool…….

What a petty, little man. It is pitiful what we have as our representative.

He voted against the fiscal cliff bill. And what did that vote mean? It meant to raise taxes on 100 percent of Americans, every one of them!!! And he ran on job creation for a second time, and no taxes. He sided with a radical wing for political reasons, and said the 98 percent of the working middle class can go straight to hell.

This child is too immature to hold such an office. He has no idea what he is doing, he is just taking his marching orders from a political/lobbyist group, but NOT from the people in his district.

Palazzo votes no on $9.7 billion Sandy relief measure ~ Anita Lee

How ironic since his family has been fleecing the local taxpayers for decades that this fool we have for a Congressman would deprive people that paid their flood insurance premiums their insurance settlements. To the extent dear ol’ papa Palazzo is one of Bill Walker’s friends and family Palazzo’s vote is particularly disgusting.

Man ‘o man how the people of south Mississippi shot themselves in the foot electing this clown back in November 2010.

Rotten to the core: A few stories I am following today.

Folks each of these news stories deserve their own post and in time most will be featured but for now here are some links that interested me this morning. Please feel free to add your own in comments that fit the theme: ~ sop

Senator Wicker introduces a Senate version of NFIP reauthorization and enters the special interest briar patch.

Today Anita Lee profiles in the Sun Herald legislation introduced in the Senate by Roger Wicker to reauthorize the NFIP for 5 years. Talking NFIP is fashionable in political circles these days and the insurance industry is heavily dictating the discussion in DC. 

After reading the entire bill and Senator Wicker’s FAQ sheet I’ll say I was underwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong I greatly appreciate the fact that Wicker is the only national politician in Mississippi that gives a shit about the coastal insurance crisis. I just don’t think using concepts based on MID Commish Mike Chaney throwaway lines advances the cause of true NFIP reforms much and I agree with former Texas Commish Robert Hunter who thinks Wicker’s proposal is unworkable in practice.  Then again here at Slabbed we’re underwhelmed by Mr Hunter’s proposals too as the thinking at the consumer federation just isn’t innovative in its own right but that is another post.

Otherwise the Senator’s bill reauthorizes the NFIP almost as is, with the same low overall coverage limits.  One big change is the 20% annual rate increases and like the House there are new mapping provisions. Reading this latest story and an earlier piece in the Sun Herald on a similar bill on the fast track through the House of Representatives you really get a flavor for exactly how much the insurance lobby is dominating the discussion in DC.  Wicker himself alluded to it as Anita reports:

Wicker believes his bill is more palatable than previous efforts to offer optional wind coverage through NFIP so that one policy would cover wind and storm-surge losses. Continue reading “Senator Wicker introduces a Senate version of NFIP reauthorization and enters the special interest briar patch.”

In an amazing act of hubris, State Farm asks Judge Senter to certify seal to the Fifth Circus (a Rigsby qui tam update)

Judge Senter’s Order denying State Farm’s Motion to Dismiss the Rigsby qui tam case was Breaking News on the 24th of January. In a different sense, it was also breaking news at State Farm – news that broke the Company’s front line defense.

Shortly thereafter State Farm filed a Motion asking the Court to allow the Company to throw the allegations at a different wall – a motion to certify the seal to the Fifth Circus claiming the Court’s “denial of State Farm’s motion to dismiss due to the Rigsbys’ violations of the seal order presents a controlling question of law, that an immediate appeal would materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation, and that there are substantial grounds for a difference of opinion as to this question”.

The Rigsbys recently filed a Response. However, before taking a look at the State Farm Memorandum and Rigsby Response in Opposition, a little stroll down memory lane is in order. In his Opinion Memorandum, Judge Senter recognized the significance of the partial lifting of the seal that took place on “January 1, 2007, to allow the Relators to make certain disclosures in judicial proceedings in related but independent litigation in Alabama”:

The order partially lifting the seal does not specify that the judicial disclosures themselves be made under seal, and this order could therefore be reasonably interpreted to authorize these judicial disclosures in pleadings and other documents distributed to the litigants and their attorneys in the Alabama litigation. This type of disclosure would effectively make the original seal of the qui tam case moot. In these circumstances, I consider the relevant period of the seal to be from April 26, 2006, (the filing of the original FCA complaint) through January1, 2007 (the partial lifting of the seal)…and the stay was fully lifted on August 1, 2007.

Judge Senter obviously didn’t think it necessary to provide supporting evidence or he would have mentioned a particularly significant event that took place between the date the seal was partially lifted and the date it was fully lifted some eight months later – the May 30, 2007, Motion to Compel that State Farm filed in McIntosh v State Farm: Continue reading “In an amazing act of hubris, State Farm asks Judge Senter to certify seal to the Fifth Circus (a Rigsby qui tam update)”

Boring people may talk about the weather – but there’s nothing boring about this weather news or the financial disaster to follow!

°When the news reports a Massive storm begins trek across midwest, it’s a safe bet that the nation’s disaster assistance funds will be tapped:

As a monster storm began to bear down on the middle of the nation Tuesday, those in its frigid and dangerous path could only hope it wouldn’t live up to the hype.

The storm threatened to leave up to a third of the nation covered in a hodge-podge of brutal winter weather. Its reach was impressive: Snow and ice could fall along a 2,000-mile stretch from Colorado to Maine, tornadoes were possible in the South, and the weather was disrupting millions of people from Super Bowl travelers to schoolchildren.

Saturday here was a glorious 72° of sunshine!  The weather this storm is bringing, however, is an entirely different matter. Continue reading “Boring people may talk about the weather – but there’s nothing boring about this weather news or the financial disaster to follow!”

Allstate painted (literally) company in a Billion $ Corner – ex rel Sonnier v: FOURTH qui tam Complaint filed against Allstate

And, then there were four – ex rel Rigsby, ex rel Branch Consultants,  ex rel Denenea and, now, ex rel Sonnier v Allstate:

ALLSTATE’s price allowed on wind policy estimates of loss in the State of Louisiana for painting damaged areas was between $0.15 and $0.38 per square foot. However, on NFIP flood policy estimates, ALLSTATE allowed $0.56 per square foot, a difference of between $0.18 and $0.41 per square foot. Thus, if the true and correct cost to repaint flood damaged property was between $0.15 and $0.38 per square foot (i.e., the same cost listed by defendant, ALLSTATE, to paint the same unit of drywall covered under the wind policy issued for the same property by defendant, ALLSTATE, and applicable to the same loss event), ALLSTATE caused the federal government to overpay ALLSTATE between $0.15 and $0.41 for every square foot required to be painted in every NFIP flood policy loss estimate adjusted and initially paid by ALLSTATE but subsequently submitted to the federal government for full reimbursement to ALLSTATE.

Kermith Sonnier, “the Relator is a licensed insurance adjuster with 30 years experience…principal shareholder of Sonnier & Fisher Public Adjusters, LLC, a public adjusting firm based in Lake Charles, Louisiana”.

The allegations in Mr. Sonnier’s recently unsealed qui tam Complaint against Allstate are Plus-Size over a $1,00o,ooo,000 federal dollars fraudulently by manipulating  multiple costs in claims submitted to the NFIP from multiple disasters in multiple locations over the six year period prior to filing the Complaint under seal on December 10, 2009. Continue reading “Allstate painted (literally) company in a Billion $ Corner – ex rel Sonnier v: FOURTH qui tam Complaint filed against Allstate”

Let’s lighten up – Here’s State Farm’s proposed Juror Questionnaire to tickle your funny bone (a Rigsby qui tam update)

It will take me all weekend to do an update on the three Katrina qui tam cases – ex rel Rigsby v State Farm, ex rel Denenea v Allstate, and ex rel Branch Consultants v Allstate et al – but  with so much serious discussion taking place on SLABBED, I thought it was time to lighten up and, since State Farm’s proposed “Supplemental Jury Questionnaire (“SJQ”)’ had me ROFLMAO, I thought it might tickle your funny bone.

As a warm up, I’ll quote from State Farm’s Motion:

Numerous Courts, including the Southern District of Mississippi, have used an SJQ to help screen potential jurors, thereby reducing the amount of time needed for live questioning of the jury venire. Here, the use of a short but pointed case-specific questionnaire would expedite the voir dire process and save valuable court time…The Court and the parties can review the prospective jurors’ written questionnaire and identify by stipulation those responding with answers requiring automatic dismissal for cause…The Rigsbys oppose the SJQ for reasons they have not shared with counsel for State Farm.

Imagine that! Anyone reading the proposed Juror Questionnaire would find the reasons the Rigsbys would oppose State Farm’s SJQ so obvious there wouldn’t be a need to share.

Question 22, for example, asks prospective jurors, “How well did FEMA handle the claims of Hurricane Katrina victims in this area?” – as if there is anyone in America (other than our President who thought “Brownie” was “doing a heck of a job”) who doesn’t know FEMA was a bigger disaster than Katrina!

State Farm’s Memorandum in Support of the Company’s motion is also good for a grin or two:

State Farm is willing to pay the cost of mailing the SJQ to and from the potential jurors and to pay for a third party to make copies of the completed SJQ’s for the Court and all parties.

The Juror Questionnaire is below the jump. Continue reading “Let’s lighten up – Here’s State Farm’s proposed Juror Questionnaire to tickle your funny bone (a Rigsby qui tam update)”

Slicked and Slabbed news miscallany: Oil in the food chain, whale sharks and great minds thinking alike.

Folks there is so much news out there besides what we’re focusing on in detail I thought a post with links to what I am reading may help our many out of area readers get a flavor for what is really happening on the ground.

First up is oil in the food chain as the Sun Herald’s Geoff Pender reports that oil is coating crab larvae, a favorite food of fish and birds alike. Frankly this is terrible news.

So while it looks as though we’ll be without fresh local crabs for a while I highly recommend the Crab Fest being held this weekend on the grounds of Our Lady of the Gulf Church in Bay St Louis.  A crowd favorite is the Crab Roule’ booth which is staffed by local luminaries that never forget their ties to the ordinary people in their community. For those not initiated in the ways of the coast, Crab Roule’ is the crustacean version of the chicken drop sans “the drop” and is great fun. If you in the City or off the coast come on over because there is lots of great food, art booths, rides for the kids, live music etc. and is very family friendly (which on the coast means the adults can eat seafood and imbibe adult beverages while the kids have a blast).

Next up is Anita Lee’s story in today’s Sun Herald which extensively quotes Fred McCallister of Allegiance Capital Corporation and his analysis of BP’s spill response as it relates to protecting their bottom line.  Anita is what Nowdy would call a true Katrina warrior and her reporting on insurers after Katrina was simply excellent. Continue reading “Slicked and Slabbed news miscallany: Oil in the food chain, whale sharks and great minds thinking alike.”

Slabbed takes at peek at NFIP direct and explains the timing of State Farm's departure from the Flood Program

This J&A approval request does not diminish the fact; that FEMA Acquisitions allowed this contract to be performed without adequate oversight from our acquisition staff whether inherited or created. As an organization we are taking full ownership of our responsibility to manage the contract properly and are taking the necessary steps to correct our process.

Welcome to Government, Inc., NFIP style, as FEMA issued a justification and approval to extend the contract with NFIP’s Direct Servicing Agent, Computer Science Corporation on April 30, 2010. We’ve profiled the problems in the National Flood Insurance Program since early 2008 and believe me when I say the above disclosure takes FEMA light years away from the federal agency and program long known for its coziness with the WYO insurers it was charged to regulate during the George Bush years.

FEMA has a problem though as we continue quoting from the justification and approval:

The NFIP-Direct is the only option for independent Agents (as opposed to “captive agents” who write through their companies such as State Farm, Nationwide, Traveler’s, etc.). The Direct via Independent Agents have historically written about 10% of the total Continue reading “Slabbed takes at peek at NFIP direct and explains the timing of State Farm's departure from the Flood Program”