I’ll be making sure the Daily Bail makes it into our financial links when I get a chance to add to our links. Mr CLS has been linking it for quite some time on the Allstate board and it is indeed very good. For our newer readers I’ll add covering financial topics is not unusual for us, in fact we trace our root to the financial topic of insurance, which in turn cuts across a wide variety of subjects including espionage.
Let’s begin with this CNN report:
US Representative Marcy Kaptur knows her shit folks and not because she is Carnac the Magnificent, rather because she knew almost 2 years ahead of time exactly what a true clusterf*ck the subprime mortgage market had become. Continue reading I feel the need to examine the topic of mortgage fraud and other quick programming notes.
Given the current financial mess that resulted from unsound and ill advised financial practices my total amazement at certain of the state insurance regulators for allowing insurance companies to count such silly things as deferred income taxes in their capital computations is mind boggling. Anyone else remember the industry meme the past 6 months repeated by paid insurance industry shills like Robert Hartwig of the Insurance disInformation Institute that this was a bank problem and that insurers were financially strong? Financially strong enterprises don’t spend time getting regulatory blessing to cook their books. In fact I’ll go a step further and publicly advise what I’m telling my paying clients, If your bank or insurer counts silly things like their net deferred tax asset as capital, run don’t walk for the door. Simply put it means they are in severe financial distress. In Allstate’s case details have emerged in the national media as to the extent of their problem. We begin at the WaPo:
Allstate, the big insurer, last week declared that despite unprecedented trouble in the markets, it remains financially strong.
But tucked deep inside a company report is evidence that Allstate changed its bookkeeping last year in ways that improve its financial appearance.
One accounting change added $347 million. Another delivered a year-end boost of $365 million.
Allstate’s actions illustrate a broader risk to investors, policyholders and people looking for insurance. Insurers have been asking regulators to let them operate with thinner financial cushions or to pad those cushions with assets they could not otherwise count. For anyone trying to assess the companies’ financial strength, the changes can cloud the picture. That could make it harder for people to make sound decisions when buying policies or annuities to protect their families.
This next blurb caused me to shake my head, in the small business world such slack is rarely cut a borrower or small town bank that’s insolvent but then again the guys and gals in small business don’t have armies of high priced lobbyist or revolving door employment arrangements with these state regulators: Continue reading Allstate’s financial shenanigans hit the press: Deferred Tax Assets, That’s Allstate’s Stand….
Yep just a timestamp. Go long the broad index, short the issue/sector. (JMHO)
Finally, it was surreal to listen to such a grim panel after the swank reception welcoming the attendees, courtesy of McGraw Hill. A variety of groups were given invitations (mine came via the New York Financial Writers Association) to attend at no charge and hear the panelists offer their views, with the function arranged by Columbia University’s Knight-Bagehot Alumni Committee (a scholarship program for business journalists).
We were on the 50th floor of the McGraw Hill, offering a breathtaking view of midtown Manhattan. There was a multitude of delicious finger foods, washed down by top-shelf booze from an open bar–with single malt, 12-year-old scotch the drink of choice for many, including yours truly.
The room buzzed, and for a moment it didn’t feel like we were all traveling on a sinking ship. But once the program began, I felt a bit like I’d been drinking champagne after the Titanic hit the iceberg. Might as well enjoy whatever good times remain while they last, right?
Play it again Sam, truer words have never been spoken. Bankruptcy is not only for the best, it represents the long term cure. Also a big Slabbed welcome to the folks at McGraw Hill. I heard the construction version of the McGraw Hill 2009 economic sing-a-long in NOLA. Bleak picture no?
Continue reading Just a Timestamp…
Cat bonds that is and certainly they have been topical this week here on slabbed. Let’s begin by taking a trip back in time to the Bloomberg story we linked on Willow Re, an Allstate SPE (special purpose entity) earlier this week:
The issuer has notified Standard & Poor’s that it will not have sufficient funds to make the scheduled interest payment,” S&P analyst Gary Martucci in New York wrote in the statement.So-called cat bonds have gained popularity as a way for insurers to protect against natural disasters, and buyers demand outsized returns because they risk losing their entire investment to the insurer if the catastrophe is large enough. With Willow Re and other bonds backed by Lehman, investors are on the verge of losing a portion of their stake because of a financial calamity instead of a natural one.“The market was already pricing Willow Re in the area of 50 cents,” said Christophe Fritsch, head of insurance-linked securities at Axa SA in Paris. “New deals will improve dramatically. Investors will make sure that they will only be exposed to insurance risk and won’t take credit risk.”
Willow Re is one of four catastrophe bonds that used contracts sold by Lehman to guarantee returns on collateral backing the notes and to make interest payments. Lehman’s collapse in September nullified the guarantees, leaving the securities open to market value losses on the collateral. Continue reading Slabbed Lets the Cat out of the Bag: Is Allstate’s Reinsurance Program Worthless? Ask the Weeping Willow tREe.