Why Paige St John won’t have to worry about the Wall Street Journal taking her Pulitzer Prize for insurance reporting.

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.

And it is also true that late last year I skewered a couple of the WSJ beat reporters for passing off PR fluff from Allstate as a serious news story but again this group probably also buys into the concept of big business being able to impartially self investigate their own misdeeds but hey don’t take that from me as Sam Antar aka of “Crazy Eddie” infamy and one of the most famous fraudsters of all time discusses that issue in-depth on a sister new media website to Slabbed, the Business Insider. The bottom line is it is against that backdrop that I highlight another incredibly clueless Hurricane Irene/Insurer of Last Resort story by the WSJ dynamic duo of Erik Holm and Leslie Scism where their main source was some cat named “Critics“.  A search of our Slabbed files revealed one of the Insurance disInformation Institute’s Bob Hartwig’s aliases was indeed “Critics” so it is easy to identify what industry PR outfit fed Holm and his sidekick this “Hurricane Irene” story which rests on the following undisputed assertions from Mr Critics: Continue reading “Why Paige St John won’t have to worry about the Wall Street Journal taking her Pulitzer Prize for insurance reporting.”

Catching up a week’s worth of insurance news: The windpool and a Sun Herald Editorial

I noted the Sun Herald ran an insurance related editorial and covered the continuing fight to get another 40 million dollar taxpayer subsidy from the legislature to the windpool this session. We’ll start with the heavily commented upon editorial that ran Thursday:

To appreciate the urgency of finding a way to lower residential insurance rates on the Coast, consider where our economy would be if a large segment of South Mississippians were not paying hundreds and thousands of additional dollars in premiums each year.

Much of that money would be circulating.

It could be used to make car payments. It could be used to make home improvements. It could be used to make countless purchases.

It could be used to pay for medical and dental services now being put on hold due to the expense.

Surely every sector of our economy — wholesale as well as retail, dining and entertainment as well as professional services — would be bolstered, if not booming.

Instead, insurance costs drain our economy of needed cash. Continue reading “Catching up a week’s worth of insurance news: The windpool and a Sun Herald Editorial”

The Commish’s Wind Pool Education Continues: Hold the Pollyanna Please

It appears Commissioner Chaney is finding out as his predecessor George Dale did that the Sun Herald does not let up on foot in mouth disease cases until the politician extracts the foot from their mouth. In George Dale’s case he lived in his make believe world until the bitter end when he was unceremoniously booted from office. The jury is still out on Commissioner Chaney though he is the topic of two news stories and an editorial today in the Sun Herald. We’ll deal with the Op-Ed first.

First and to his credit, Mr Chaney is still pounding the pavement here telling the audience where ever he goes what he is doing to ease the insurance crisis. I met him at Gene Taylor’s Issues + Answers lecture on Februuary 29 and we spoke at length then.  I’ve also had the pleasure of hearing the Commissioner speak at his Insurance Forum on March 4th and again at the Hancock County Chamber Luncheon on April 9th. On both occasions we also had a chance to visit one on one; he impresses me as committed to bringing affordable insurance back to the coast as well as help find a solution to the wind-water problem that has vexed the politicians and since clogged our courtrooms.

For my part his straight talk and “you may not like the answer I’m giving you but I won’t make one up just so you’ll like it” attitude is refreshing. The slabbed as a group like certainty after experiencing so much uncertainty since August 29, 2005, even if it is not what we want to hear. We’ve seen enough sweet talking trash looking to make a name or score a quick buck for themselves to last several life times. Given my first hand impressions of the Commissioner I was as surprised at his mission accomplished pronouncement as the Sun Herald people. We were not the only ones so shocked as I noted in here and here. Continue reading “The Commish’s Wind Pool Education Continues: Hold the Pollyanna Please”

The Commish’s Wind Pool Education Continues

In yesterday’s Sun Herald I saw Geoff Pender took Commissioner Chaney to task over his ill advised Wind Pool Press Release from last week. In his piece, Pender hits on the sentiment I’ve encountered since this became a topic for discussion down here; one that is not favorable to the commissioner:

State Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney last week announced in a press release that state wind pool insurance premiums would soon approach pre-Katrina prices.

I’ll pause for the howls of derisive laughter to subside.

Now, obviously, if you live on the Coast and participate in the wind pool, you know that statement is a bunch of bullfeathers. As one reader responded, “They are closer to pre-Katrina levels except that they are 75 percent higher.”

Chaney later explained that he was referring to rates for a “Fortified Home,” or one built to a stringent set of hurricane-proof standards. OK. Problem is, only one such bunker has been built on the Coast to date. Continue reading “The Commish’s Wind Pool Education Continues”

The Commish Gets a Wind Pool Education…..

The first incarnation of Commissioner Chaney mentioning wind pool rates and pre Katrina pricing levels was at the Chamber luncheon last month when (I thought) I heard him tell the crowd that by June of 2009 we’d be back close to pre Katrina levels for wind pool pricing. Somehow I missed this yesterday:

Coast insurance premiums will reach “nearly pre-Katrina levels by June,” Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney says in a news release about the state wind pool.

The paying public didn’t miss it as our Insurance Commissioner’s Tuesday Press Release was soundly ridiculed by Sun Herald readers:

They are closer to pre-Katrina levels except that they are 75% more expensive. C’mon. Do the Math: 1,189 over 679. What a joke!

thought you had to at least have some math ability to get a job as commissioner… apparently not – $1189 = $679. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that those 2 numbers are not even close…

Just once I would like to hear the truth from a politician. If they can’t do the math, they should get someone who can to explain it to them. If I had a house payment I couldn’t afford my house because of the insurance. Affortable housing isn’t the ptroblem. Insurance is the problem. Continue reading “The Commish Gets a Wind Pool Education…..”