Nowdy, our friend Amy over at United Policyholders has given Slabbed a promotion. :-)

Folks we’re honored to be listed on the main United Policyholders resource page. We’ve grown beyond just Katrina though we remain committed to getting every Katrina case home. Next up for me is Liberty Mutual where a fiduciary responsibiity is not in their WYO policy. Don’t take it from me though, just ask one of their former employees who has seen the Slab and linked us.


Merlin – Amy Bach and United Policyholders Supports Mississippi Insurance Protections

Sun Herald reporter Michael Newsom reported the current current status of insurance legislation pending at the Capitol in House OK’s Compromise:

House Bill 563 passed in a 107-7 vote Wednesday, which included all South Mississippi representatives voting for it. The measure is the lone surviving piece of Hurricane Katrina insurance legislation. Several other insurance bills, which Coast lawmakers file annually, died with a Feb. 2 deadline to clear committee. Coast lawmakers have said the insurance industry carries much influence over the Legislature, which has contributed to the bills failing in the years since Hurricane Katrina.

However, House Bill 563, the subject of Sop’s recent post Watered down policyholder legislation still hanging on in the Mississippi  Legislature, passed the House with language Sop claimed would give insurers “free rein” still in the bill:

In addition to the rights that are specified by the commissioner and the provision regarding reasonable time frames, the Mississippi Homeowners Insurance Policyholder Bill of Rights must include the following provisions:  (a) Unless based on sound actuarial principles, an insurance company may not treat a policyholder differently from other individuals of the same class and essentially the same  hazard when evaluating a claim…(emphasis added)

Keep in mind that Sop is a CPA who knows “adjusting claims has nothing to do with “actuarial principles” and his related opinion is as worthy of consideration as that of those in other professions commenting on proposed insurance legislation:

Taken at its face that language essentially gives an insurer free rein to do whatever the heck they want provided they pay a shill like Robert Hartwig enough to concoct some whopper actuarial principle to justify why it is OK for an insurer to hose a policyholder on a claim.

Sop spoke for SLABBED when he pointed out the red flag language in House Bill 563 and I saw no need to add more until I read this paragraph in Merlin’s related post this morning:

I am certain many may think these efforts are a waste of time because the insurance lobby in Mississippi seems to be in control of the political process. Standing up for the right principle and social policy is always the right thing to do. Like water in a stream relentlessly influencing the earth, just social policy reflected in law will eventually happen. But this will occur only so long as we stand up to those with more significant wealth or power that are attempting to keep the unjust status quo in place.

It is not the strength of the insurance lobby that concerns me.  Instead, my consideration is framing insurance legislation as a matter of “social policy” when the “unjust status quo in place” is a matter of “public policy”.  The distinction is important. Continue reading “Merlin – Amy Bach and United Policyholders Supports Mississippi Insurance Protections”

Let’s talk bad faith insurer Prime Insurance Syndicate and Appraisal

A few weeks back I was contacted by a journalist inquiring if we knew anything about a small time non-admitted carrier based out of Utah, Prime Insurance Syndicate as they had plastered a press release all over the internet trumpeting a jury verdict down here in their favor as something unique and GASP they found the local jury to be very fair. The press release was so over the top we did some checking and after pulling the case up on PACER we decided it was not worth wasting time or space here on Slabbed covering. Insurers have won several verdicts here including some cases we profiled in Aiken and Bossier so we considered the source and moved on. Then in one of those famous serendipitous Slabbed moments I ran across an article in Claims Magazine which covered the verdict. As the blue collar retirees that were through my office yesterday giving me their tax information would say let tackle this for shits and giggles. We begin with last month’s press release:

Prime Insurance Syndicate, Inc. was successfully defended in a Hurricane Katrina lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. This is believed to be the first jury verdict in Mississippi exonerating an insurer in a Hurricane Katrina claim.

After six days of trial, the jury unanimously rendered a defense/zero verdict on January 19, 2010. The Plaintiffs’ complaint, filed in October 2007, alleged bad faith refusal to pay the insurance claim, willful and negligent breach of contract, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing and other claims, for which Plaintiffs claimed over $7 million in compensatory and punitive damages. The jury returned a defense/zero verdict, finding that Prime Insurance Syndicate, Inc. did not breach its contract with the Plaintiffs.

A challenging case in the post-Katrina environment, Prime had already paid everything that was owed under the policy and had come to an agreement with the Plaintiff’s own representative.

Prime withdrew from the INEX Insurance Exchange on December 31, 2009. Continue reading “Let’s talk bad faith insurer Prime Insurance Syndicate and Appraisal”

Our friend Amy Bach at United Policyholders in the news

Founded in 1991 in the aftermath of insurer bad faith following California wildfires, United Policyholders continues to fight for consumer rights to this day. One of my proudest moments moderating Slabbed was being contacted by United Policyholder executive director Amy Bach, who then listed us on their Katrina Claims Library as policyholder resource.  Amy was on ABC News last week and she gave an extensive interview on Homeowners Insurance that is a must see for every home owner in America. I’ve embedded it below the fold. Continue reading “Our friend Amy Bach at United Policyholders in the news”

Some friends are in the news today

Long Beach resident Kevin Buckel and United Policyholders executive director Amy Bach to be specific. Kevin’s website details his thus far fruitless pursuit of a statutory Policyholder Bill of Rights for Mississippians. It has been blocked in committee in the Senate by Sen. Eugene “Buck” Clarke, a GOP free market true believer over at the Big Rock Candy Mountain in Jackson.

We’ve also chronicaled Mr Buckel’s efforts at fostering transparency at the Mississippi Department of Insurance as he has taken our current Commish to court after the claims files used in the sham Market Conduct Study began under Mr Chaney’s predecessor turned insurance lobbyist George Dale as overseen by former Deputy Commish Lee Harrell who now works for State Farm law firm Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell and Berkowitz. Mr Chaney has thus far successfully stonewalled those efforts. Anita Lee picks up more recent events here:

A Coast policyholder is appealing to the state Supreme Court for access to Mississippi Insurance Department records that would show the dollar amount of Katrina claims denied by insurance companies.

Long Beach policyholder Kevin Buckel filed a written request in January 2009 for records showing the total amount of damages homeowners claimed, the total amount paid and the total amount denied by private property insurance companies. MID maintains the agency does not have the records.

United Policyholders of America is helping Buckel fund the appeal. Continue reading “Some friends are in the news today”

Merlin: Mississippi Supreme Court Hears Corban Oral Argument Next Week UPDATED 2X

Posted today on the Property Insurance Coverage Law blog and reproduced with permission of Chip Merlin:

Last November, I wrote a post, A Chance For Mississippi Courts To Get It Right, about a very important case that will be argued before the Mississippi Supreme Court next Tuesday, June 9, 2009, at 1:30 p.m. I know many must think that justice sometimes moves at a snail’s pace because six months have passed since I first wrote about the case and we are only arguing the appeal. Corban v USAA is important to Mississippi policyholders, and the arguments can be watched live over the Internet.

Here are some of the Briefs:

Corban raises the most important issues regarding causation and burdens of proof which have been at issue in the Mississippi Katrina cases. Finally, the highest Court in this fair state will hear the issues so important to its citizens. It will be a landmark decision no matter how it is decided.

As additional briefs are added, SLABBED will update this post.

Speaking of Socialism and Mississippi Republicans. An Open Letter to our Favorite Captured Regulator the Commish

Anita Lee is always good but today she is also heaven sent. It seems the Consumer Federation of America and United Policyholders have taken Mr Chaney to task for not doing a good job looking out for consumers. Duh! I guess we should be grateful he has finally gotten around to the fortified bunker program.

I guarantee Kevin Buckel and Amy Bach aren’t the only two people that our Commish feels free to ignore. IMHO Chaney and his staff were too busy leaking David Rossmiller info about the Market Conduct Study to bother with such trivialities.

In any event (and while we wait to hear what Mr Matthews and Company think of Mr Chaney and his Market Conduct Study) here is Anita Lee’s story about how consumers/voters need not apply for access to the Commish -he is simply too busy.

Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney needs to do a better job for consumers, two national organizations have concluded, but Chaney said Wednesday night that he he has “a full platter.” Continue reading “Speaking of Socialism and Mississippi Republicans. An Open Letter to our Favorite Captured Regulator the Commish”