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.
I now try to avoid telling people how many years I’ve run both my own accounting practice and helping my much larger private sector clients prosper in one of the most competitive industries in our economy so I don’t betray the fact I’m on the fast downhill slide to the big five-oh. That said and in light of true participation in the market economy of this once great nation there are times I read something in a national finance publication and I wonder which ivory tower these people have been smoking crack in. So along those lines through time I’ve blogged here on Slabbed the folks over at the Wall Street Journal have come up a time or two.
Sadly I must report I did say the WSJ Editorial Board were a band of “lit and hallucinating buffoons” but that was only because they were unfavorably comparing a solvent state-run insurer of last resort in Florida Citizens with an insolvent one in Louisiana Citizens. The stupidity was simply stunning folks but these Ivory Tower sellouts are the same bunch that gave us the 2008 market crash and 10+% unemployment with their self-serving no-regulation rhetoric so I frankly should have never expected much from ’em.
THE PUSH BACK ON CORBAN – “YOU’RE GONNA PAY FOR THIS!“
A few days ago Slabbed carried a Bam Bam post on State Farm’s new 45% rate increase, and the process of “whipsawing.” It explained how State Farm uses the media and purchased politicians to manipulate and scare homeowners in depleted Cat markets, who are compelled by lenders to buy adhesion insurance contracts, and pay ever escalating premiums.
The ink was still wet on that post when 2 days ago the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that the ACC clause as interpreted by the notorious, corporation loving 5th Circuit ain’t the law in Mississippi. The tragedy is that hundreds of thousands of claims were illegally mishandled for 4 years before we got word. Anyway, State Farm, Allstate, Nationwide and USAA got bitch slapped, and they’re some kinda pissed. I knew there’d be press statements coming, all calculated to terrorize homeowners as soon as the shills got their poison pens loaded. We all know who they are: Robert Hartwig being foremost among them. So here’s what he comes out with after Corban:
“What this basically suggests is that the cost of claims is going to be higher than insurers anticipated,” Hartwig said, “so there are direct consequences for the price of insurance in Mississippi, and potentially for the availability as well. Continue reading “The Push Back on Corban”