Slabbed news miscellany: Chip Merlin on the value of listening to other points of view, stealing beer and drinking what can’t be fenced, Swiss Re rings the Bell and the cash register, Michael Grimm to appear at the Silver Slipper in 2 free shows and “for sale” issue advocacy

I have a super busy day ahead but wanted to throw up a few links for the Slabbed Nation because I think we have another banner day shaping up here in cyberspace.  Let’s start with Chip Merlin’s blog where he writes about the value of listening to other points of view:

Slabbed is a blog that grates on those in the insurance industry, its legal counsel and proponents. My impression is that because those from the insurance industry do not like the criticism, positions and strong rhetoric, they stop reading Slabbed and read only those that criticize policyholder advocates, policyholders, and others who pander to the insurance industry. Nobody likes to be criticized or cast in the role of the villain. That is human nature. Yet, I agree with comedian Chris Rock, who stated that “anyone who makes up their mind before hearing the issue is a … fool.”

I was thinking of this while reading the August issue of the Insurance Fraud Letter by Barry Zalma. Zalma, like many in the insurance industry, takes great glee in publicizing when the well known consumer champions fall. I appreciate that those that make a living serving the insurance industry have an allegiance to it and a utilitarian need to pander to those that provide for their living. Still, those self righteous antidotes have worthy lessons and, within the rhetoric, there are often a few jewels. Zalma gave one in his recent newsletter

Chip may be surprised to learn that we are read religiously by certain insurers and insurance professionals though our industry traffic count did take a hit when they started filtering us in Bloomington.  His point is well taken though because we have experienced the other kind of reader as well; people so trapped by their beliefs and ideology they are incapable of seeing other viewpoints.  Chip has singled out Zalma in the past for doing just that, which is part of what makes today’s entry over at his blog so rich. Continue reading “Slabbed news miscellany: Chip Merlin on the value of listening to other points of view, stealing beer and drinking what can’t be fenced, Swiss Re rings the Bell and the cash register, Michael Grimm to appear at the Silver Slipper in 2 free shows and “for sale” issue advocacy”

Familar Problems in Alabama’s X-Wind Homeowners Insurance Market

The first week of April, Jeff Amy at the Mobile Press Register authored an excellent story on the coastal X-wind HO market in Alabama. His story, unlike our coverage of it, is very timely. However, unlike justice delayed, Mr Amy’s piece has gotten better with time. The reason for that also explains my detour back to November 29, 2006 and the deposition of State Farm Senior Vice President Mr Robert Trippel, an otherwise useless character who still managed to provide some enlightening commentary when he was deposed in Watkins v State Farm about several Katrina related matters. While the meat of Mr Trippel’s depo is dedicated post on its own he had a few things to say about X-Wind policies in his zone, which includes Mississippi and Alabama so it is on page 103 of his deposition that we begin as the Watkins lawyer Jeff Marr questions Mr Trippel:

Q All right, Mr. Trippel, after you identified — what are these called, initiatives, is that what we’d call them — in these different states these things that are being conducted, what are they called?

A I would say it’s the new underwriting guidelines.

Q Okay. And you covered Mississippi and Georgia. Which state is next? What’s another state in this zone that’s been affected by the change of underwriting guidelines following Katrina?

A Alabama.

Q How has Alabama’s underwriting guidelines been changed following Katrina?

A Very similar with a mile setback off the coast and hurricane deductibles for new business.

Q Okay. So similar to Mississippi in that new business is only a mile off the coast, correct? Is that correct?

A Correct.

Q And then the wind hurricane — excuse me, hurricane deductible is now 2 percent to 5 percent?

A Correct.

Q Any others?

A No.

Mr Marr, like Nowdy and I must have been scratching his head wondering what skills besides the ability to recite the company line Mr Trippel brought to his very senior position on the Farm. He certainly does not know the basics of insurance finance as we continue on the bottom of page 104: Continue reading “Familar Problems in Alabama’s X-Wind Homeowners Insurance Market”

Be Sure to Mark Your Calendars….

Dr Ed Duett of Mississippi State has all the finest insurance crooks coming to speak at MSU’s annual insurance day set for April 23, 2009. Our readers may recall he brought in Rossie for I day 2008. This year’s list of crooks and charlatans is very impressive and includes a record number of participants with ties to companies under current federal investigation and/or hogs at the taxpayer TARP trough. The complete speaker list is here but I thought I’d summarize the various sessions for our reader’s convenience:

The Revolving Door Panel:

Mike Chaney, MS DOI
Jim Ridling, AL DOI
Scott Richardson, SC DOI
George Dale, Adams and Reese
Walter Bell, Chairman of Swiss Re America

What happened to Robert Wooley?

The White Collar Crime Panel:

Walter Bell, Chairman of Swiss Re America
Jay Barbour, Carroll, Warren & Parker
Lorrie Brouse, Regional Counsel, Allstate
Steve Iler, President, AIG Claims
Wade Sweat, Copeland, Cook, Taylor & Bush

The Policyholders, what policyholders? You mean those schmucks? Panel:

George Dale, Adams and Reese Continue reading “Be Sure to Mark Your Calendars….”