BREAKING: It’s Official. United Fire and Casualty CEO Randy Ramlo is now the official beetch of the Slabbed Nation

A bit of background for our newer readers is in order here so the long story short is the CEO of United Fire and Casualty Company, Randy Ramlo has been our secret bud here at Slabbed since June 2008 and officially since June 2009 when Nowdy covered United Fire subsidiary Lafayette Insurance getting their asses kicked in Ferrara v Lafayette. Of course I previously knew Randy at United Fire as I managed to satisfactorily settle my own business Katrina claim with them after showing up on their Yahoo investor board so I had a flavor for the way they conducted business.

But then last year we disclosed that Randy was indeed quite the bitch as he managed to score a meet and greet with Chief Justice Kimball where he complained about Louisiana’s legal climate. The problem of course, was the shithouse way United Fire Group adjusts their claims as they are not the most rock solid property and casualty company financially by their own admission in court filings.

Not long after that, we featured Randy and the gang again getting their dishonest asses kicked at the Louisiana Supreme Court and a good ass kicking it was for this bad faith insurer.

So with that background in mind it should come as no surprise that Randy and the gang at Team Lafayette got their asses kicked yet again in Wegener v Lafayette, which now goes back for a new trial.  Something tells me the beclowning of Randy Ramlo will rise to new levels as we officially make the man the Team Bitch of the Slabbed Nation.

In other legal news Louisiana Citizens also got its ass kicked today too in Taranto et al v Citizens.

sop

40 thoughts on “BREAKING: It’s Official. United Fire and Casualty CEO Randy Ramlo is now the official beetch of the Slabbed Nation”

  1. A question about Lafayette: I heard they had stopped selling in Louisiana (after 110+ years, in New Orleans) altogether. Is that true?

    If it is, does United Fire (Iowa) still have a home insurance presence (i.e., one where they are actively selling and have agents here) in the state?

    Thanks.

  2. As I remember it Tele, Lafayette was killed so that next time Randy will get his trials in Federal Court. They still offer coverage but the entity offering it has changed.

    sop

  3. Praytell what “Chief Injustice Kimball”, who is “supposed” to be fair and impartial, doing meeting ex parte with the CEO of an insurance company engaged in litigation in the State? Hey: “Injustice” Kimball: Ashton O’Dwyer is planning a “meet and greet” for you, at which “law enforcement” who you do NOT control will be fitting you in a set of chrome steel bracelets. PROMISE. Ashton O’Dwyer .

  4. Wegener is NOT a very good decision for homeowners.

    Yes, the Supremes did away with the asinine reasoning spewed forth in Veade relative to 1220, now 1973 penalties.

    However, the Supremes held that Lafayette gets credit for flood payments. Now the homeowner whose roof was ripped off and had rain water inundate his home hours before flooding, will likely get $0 depending on the amount of flood insurance the homeowner had at the time of the weather event. The Supremes ratified fraud and flood dumping. Lafayette, instead of being penalized for waiting out its insureds and delaying payment, is REWARDED with a big fat credit. Not only does Lafayette get a credit, there can be no penalty under La. law without a breach of insurance contract claim. Thus, no penalty claim can, as a matter of law, be sustained.

    For some reason, VPL and burden of proof are not mentioned. Thus, there may be some hope.

    Overall the decision in my opinion is not good.

  5. NRB I disagree as the Sup Ct did not hold Lafayette gets credit for flood payments nor is allowing the introduction of the flood adjustment into evidence unusual. Now that the jury will be receiving proper instructions we’ll see how much water Lafayette’s way after the fact adjustment and their use of the whores at HAAG Engineering holds with the jury. I smell big time bad faith penalties coming.

    sop

  6. Sop… they did hold Lafayette gets credit for flood payments.

    I have a case with Teasdale and crew (same lawyers as in Wegner also) going to trial in August against Lafayette and this guts my case.

    Trust me, look at the language in the decision. Think about it, what relevance is payment of flood proceeds sight unseen or without an adjuster really doing an adjustment? The answer is “None”, unless the insured signed a proof of loss. The court reversed the evidentiary ruling excluding evidence of flood paymanets because the insured cannot recover more than the value of the home according to the Supremes. This ruling violates numerous grounds of the Civil Code dealing with obligations/contracts and the plain terms of the policy which require replacement cost.

    Under La. Law, if the roof was ripped off your home and rain poured in but your home was worth $200,000 and you had $200,000 in flood, Lafayette gets to pay you $0. You DO NOT GET TO THE PENALTIES.

    I ask someone who has read Wegner to please explain to me how Wegner does not hold that Lafayette gets credit for flood insuramce money.

  7. I read Wegner again and it does give Lafayette credit for the flood payments. Unless you represent a homeowner with no flood insurance or not much flood insurance, this decision is awful. The little gut with both homeowner’s and flood insurance in equal amounts on say a 1,700 square foot home would have been better off going to the casino and betting his premium money on black or red at the roulette table under this decision.

    Look at the moronic statement about contents on the first floor being damaged by flood waters. The Supremes obviously didn’t consider the fact that the La. legislature amended La.’s bad faith statutes post-Katrina and said “the use of water lines is per se bad faith.” The Supremes are saying “well flood waters enetered at some point so let’s ignore the roof damage and rain water that affected the contents before flooding occurred; here Lafayette you get a credit for what State Farm paid and if that amount is equal to the value of the contents lost, you insured get zero.” This means that you insured also don’t have a claim for penalties because you don’t have a breach of contract claim.

    Also, there is no discussion of the fact the FEMA waived the proof of loss requirement to benefit insureds, not all-risks h/o insurers.

    This rubber stamps fraud in my opinion.

  8. Not to beat a dead horse, but Lafayette is hailing Wegner as more of a victory.

    Even if the Wegners wind up doing well, the overwhelming amount of insureds who do not have very large policies are cooked unless the VPL kicks in.

    I guess Lafayette gets credit for Road Home money, money earned from selling the house, etc… where does it end? If they get a credit for a policy the insured paid a premium on, then why wouldn’t they get credit for federal taxpayer money (Road Home for example)?

  9. NRB:

    Do tell, who at Lafayette is hailing Wegener as a victory? As I read the decision, the plaintiffs asked for a new trial and got exactly that. The Court also clarified the issue of mental anguish after 6 years, to the great benefit of all first-party insurance claimants, not just Katrina victims. Why would you want to hide how much they got in flood insurance from a jury anyway? As I understand it, flood proceeds have come into evidence in all La. and Miss. Katrina cases tried in Fed. Cts. The plaintiffs have actually won some of those. Your rants are difficult to understand.

  10. Randy,

    You are not hiding the flood insurance payments by saying my client did nothing to represent that flood damaged the property. My client, who was in dire of need of money having lost everything, was thrown policy limits because the h/o insurers, i.e. State Farm and Allstate, convinced Maurastd as head of the NFIP to waive the proof of loss requirements relative to flood claims. Once again: what relevancy is/are the flood insurance payments if paid without a formal loss adjustment?

    As I said previously, the vast majority of homeowners in southeast La. do not have a $500,000.00 in h/o insurance and $250,000.00 in flood. The vast majority have $150-$250 in h/o and 150-250 in flood. If flood steps up and pays 100% as occurred during Katrina, where is the incentive for the h/o to pay anything?

    As I said, what MAY BE GOOD FOR THE WEGNERS, is NOT GOOD for the vast majority of homeowners in S.E. La.

    Lastly, I immediately was contacted by someone from Lafayette who said point blank “you don’t get to the penalties if there is failure to pay within 30 or 60 days. Thus, while the Wegners may do well, a lot of pending claims are wiped out.”

  11. By the way, anybody who thinks Katrina litigation in La. and Ms. and federal courts has been good to homeowners is out of their mind.

    Of the 10 or so jjury trials, I believe 3 or 4 had plaintiff friendly verdicts. Look at the decisions bouncing plaintiffs out of court. Why do you think Lafayette’s brief to the La. Supreme Ct. had 20 or so pages of decisions from the Eastern District?

    The Eastern District cost homeowner’s millions of dollars through their incorrect legal rulings.

  12. Off topic— did anybody see the butt kissing Justice Victory gave Feldman in Taranto? Here is a state court justice no less deferring to a federal district court judge on a purely state law issue. I guess armageddon is right around the corner.

    The Louisiana judical system is falling apart one piece at a time.

  13. I’d love to know who from Lafayette Ins. Co. made that statement. First, it’s inaccurate because Louisiana Bag Company and other post-Katrina cases actually have strengthened the 30 and 60 day time period in favor of claimants. Second, I am having a serious disconnect as to how evidence of the receipt of flood proceeds affects the penalty provision regarding timely payment. Also, I did not see in the decision where the court wrote that receipt of flood proceeds is an admission that the house was totaled by flood. Apparently, the Wegeners never denied that their home sustained significant flood damage.

    This is not the apocalypse or armageddon. Though you appear to be correct in your assessment of the general approach to Katrina claims by the Federal courts. I also think you are wrong on your numbers because there were many more business claims tried where flood payments were admitted into evidence.

    All of this having been said, I’ll take the first issue addressed in that opinion over the second issue (flood offset) any day of the week.

  14. Randy,

    Please see my prior posts. Louisiana jursiprudence states that you do not have a claim for penalties if no money is owed on the contract. This means for example if $200,000.00 is owed by the h/o insurer but the flood paid $200,000 you get $0 in penalties. There are legions of cases holding the same. The insurer could spit on your client and your lcient gets $0. Remember, there is no penalty unless money is owed. The Supremes are saying “no money is owed if flood insurance made you whole.”

    The little to medium guy has no claim now. In contrast, the business interruption claims or homeowner’s with very expensive homes (a small percentage) have viable claims.

    Like I said, what may be good for the Wegners is overall not good for homeowner’s in this State.

  15. When I say “owed” I mean the following:

    Let’s say there is $200,000 worth of non-excluded losses that the h/o should pay as per its contract with the insured. But the flood insurer (federal government) at the behest of the all-risks insurers, pays $200,000.00 sight unseen. Your client now gets $0 from the homeowner’s insurer and gets $0 in penalties.

  16. The person I spoke to from Lafayette indicated that Lafayette was more concerned with the offset than penalties. A bad Wegner verdict is worth wiping out hundreds if not thousands of claims.

  17. NRB:

    Surely you don’t believe your last comment. I guess I’ll just ignore the cases in which penalties were awarded in spite of the fact that the flood proceeds came into evidence. And if the homeowner was “made whole” by flood insurance, how is it bad faith, even if the insurance company spits on your client? If the homeowner is made whole, the remaining dispute would appear to be between the Fed. Govt. and the insurer. Your rantings suggest that the homeowner should be entitled to guild the lily beyond being made whole.

    Maybe I did not make myself clear: there should be no penalties if there are no viable contractual claims.

  18. Randy,

    The issue is NOT whether evidence of flood payments were introduced; the issue is whether the h/o insurer gets credit for those proceeds.

    Show me one case where penalties were awarded when there was no breach of contract.

    Why should the h/o insurer get credit?

    I’ve got a case right now where the home was worth $300,000.00 and got one foot of water. NFIP paid my client $250,000 despite my client doing nothing and saying nothing. The roof of the home was destroyed and all of the loss was from non-excluded causes. The insurer waited six months before tendering a dime. Guess what? Under Wegner the h/o insurer wins. Absurd result? YES!

    Question: Why does the h/o insurer benefit from the federal government’s generosity?

    Your contrite response Randy indicates you can’t argue the law with me so you make conclusions.

  19. I mis-used the word contrite. So what..you can’t argue the law so you point out a mis-use of the word contrite.

    I tried 2 hurricane cases (bench trials) with results that included penalties. I am not divulging cases because I want my identity unknown.

    The fact is randy my analysis on the law is spot on. I also consider my litigation skills as top-notch. I don’t need to justify my reputation to you or anyone else.

    Please address my legal analysis and don’t take personal shots. Wegner does a lot of harm to innocent homeowners/insureds and that is a fact.

  20. After re reading the opinion I’m standing by my initial analysis. I hear what you’re saying NRB but the flood offset battle was lost years ago. The solution would be to require the wind insurer to repay the NFIP but that was never an option to my knowledge.

    sop

  21. With all due respect SOP, the flood offset battle was never fought. Plaintiff lawyers who didn’t know what they were doing butchered the issue and hurt plaintiff.lawyers like myself who knew the law and issues.

    Like I said, Wegner is good for the wegners, bad for most other insureds. If that makes you happy, so be it. I know an old lady lafayette paid 100 dollars to and stopped payment on that check, who is quite disappointed and was crying when I last spoke to her.

  22. One more thong SOP, until Wegner, every la. state court ruled no offset. For 5 years we won the issue. It wasn’t “lost” until Wegner.

  23. All of this coming from NRB, who in past comments I’ve researched on this blog has supported the likes of judicial miscreants like Joan Benge and TomPorteous, two defrocked (or is it disrobed) disgraces. The guy never sees anything for what it really is. Consider the source.

    It’s a riot that NRB would opine that the Wegeners’ lawyers “did not know what they were doing” and “butchered this issue.” A simple Westlaw and PACER search reveals NRB’s inaccuracy. First, if you find out who the Wegener’s lawyers are and run their names, they seem to have been responsible for a considerable body of Katrina jurisprudence, and they have tried a whole lot more than 2 bench trials. It looks like they’ve won most of what they’ve litigated. In fact, they also won the Taranto case, which was issued the same day as Wegener. By comparison, NRB seems to be the arm-chair lawyer, who always could have done it better. Maybe he has had more success than the Wegeners’ lawyers, but I somehow doubt it.

    From reading his self-aggrandizing comments, it appears NRB needs a little dose of anti-ego pills, along with some prozac.

    1. I know this, we haven’t had an insurance thread get this type of heated discussion since the old days when Claims Guy was around posting with us from AIG Corporate before that insurance scam imploded.

      I for one can’t wait for the re-trial as the numbers will tell the tale on who won this case.

      sop

  24. First, I know and am friends with porteous’ son, mike. Point me out one post where I supported him personally. False statement.

    Second, I do like judge benge, just like hundreds of other lawyers. I know her well and she got the shaft in my opinion.

    Last, I in no way meant to implicate the Wegners’ lawyers. My reference was to turn and burn lawyers who settled katrina claims in bulk with no work. I get call sometimes 3 or 4 day for briefs. I have even got referrals from defense counsel.

    My point was that Wegner while great for the Wegners and their counsel is not the sticking portrayed. The new trial is good b/c the jury didn’t award that much on breach of contract.

    I would’ve argued offset differently but given the courts configuration, it may not have mattered.

    Like I said good for the Wegner, not good for my clients.

  25. SOP…the Wegners likely victory against the worst of the worst insurance company will show the Wegners won.

    My point is the case does harm outside the Wegners’ case. It depends on how you measure victory.

  26. By the way SOP, the solution is for the homeowner’s insurer to HONOR ITS FREAKING (WANT TO SAY SOMETHING ELSE) CONTRACT! There is no subrogation because flood and all-risks policies cover different perils.

    How is guilding the liliy or double recovery when an insured pay TWO FREAKING (WANT TO SAY SOMETHING ELSE) PREMIUMS!

    When did HONOR YOUR F’IN CONTRACT, become so difficult for people to understand? Other states do not recognize this type of b.s. argument.

    If I am CEO of an insurance company and another Katrina occurs (heaven forbid), I instruct my adjusters to immediately find out how much flood paid nefore paying a dime. If flood paid 100% event though flood caused 1/10 of the damage, I kick my heels up and say “Whew, we just legally screwed another policyholder.”

    I never meant any offense towards the Wegners’ lawyers. My point was that I have numerous district court judgments holding no offset and then bam, the Supremes who are ideological mental midgets for the most part cite an f’in asbestos case (Celotex), not a first party breach of insurance contract case. SOP look at the Supreme’s decision in Bellard v. American Central Ins. Co., 980 So.2d 654 (La. 2008) and in Cutsinger v. Redfern et al., — So.3d—, 2009 WL 1425619 (La. 2009) and tell me how the Supremes reconcile Wegner with those decisions? Were Cutsinger and Redfern argued to the Supremes in Wegner?

    My point is that the decision on offset is not only harmful to the average citizens who barely makes his h/o insurance payment, its intelectualy dishonest.

    To say the feds shouldseek get a credit is in my opinion also a wrong way to analyze the issue.

  27. I don’t consider it a personal attack Whitmergate.

    My thought was that what she said that led to her being disbarred could be construed so many different ways that it did not warrant removal from the bench. I don’t disagree or think less of someone who holds a different opinion.

    I also think that what Berrigan, Feldman, Lemelle, Africk and Englehardt did in Katrina litigation was way worse. They used intelectual dis-honesty as a cloak to bounce plaintiffs out of court. I’d almost rather them be on the take and then I could explain to my clients why we lost certain issues; their “legal analysis” is nothing more than a sham cover-up for insurance companies.

  28. I’ve been forcefully told that I cannot argue the law with Grand Legal Wizard NRB, so I’ll leave it at this. Wegener does not explicitly or tacitly overrule the following longstanding jurisprudence:

    “The insurer has the burden of proving the applicability of a coverage exclusion within a policy.” Blackburn v. National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, 2000-2668 (La.4/3/01), 784 So.2d 637.

    So irrespective of what the NFIP paid a homeowner (through a WYO or otherwise), a homeowner is still able to recover for all uncompensated wind damage. The burden still remains with the insurer to prove the cause of the damage and the extent. If flood overpaid for actual wind damage, that overpayment should inure to the benefit of the premium paying policyholder. How this affects the application of flood proceeds in a total loss situation is a question for the jury.

  29. Randy,

    When you say “uncompensated wind damage” do you mean after the flood credit is awarded?

    The way I read Wegner is as follows: (1) If the total damage is say $250,000 (replacement cost because value of the property is irrelevant under the contract), (2) the home is reduced to a slab and there is no way on God’s green earth the h/o insurer can prove flood destroyed the home and (3) flood paid paid $250,000.00 with a loss adjustment consisting of satellite photos the day after the hurricane, your client gets $0. The ruling says “flood paid 250 so you get nothing irrespective of the cause.

    Do you read the opinion differently and if so, why?

    1. Randy is writing the next post in comments but I think the key word here is loss. The Hurricane was 2 events and the loss within the meaning of an insurance policy is unique. Once the plaintiff established a covered loss occured (ie wind) it falls to the carrier to prove any policy exclusions apply.

      The minutae here is very rich to the point of being arcane but to the extent that translates to money it is well worth exploring.

      sop

  30. SOP under an all-risks policy the insured must show “damage”, not wind damage. Covered loss is “accidental, direct physical loss” not wind damage. The isnured does not have to make a showing of wind damage. This is now codified under 22:1892.2.

    You should see the Worley Catastrophe materials I obtained explaining how cricitcal burden of proof is and why the adjuster’s role relative to burden is cricitcal. SF paid my client double policy limits after I took out the Worley adjusting materials that the adjuster acknowledged he was trained using and said “I knew the burden of proof, but SF instructed us differently”.

  31. The ACC, the way SF and other sdjusters used it, was a burden shift. The idea was to make the insured prove what % was damaged by wind as opposed to flood. The insurers knew this was an impossible burden for them so they shifted it to the insured and made it similary difficult. This is now per se bad faith under La. law. Yet, the friggin morons at the Eastern District who were aided and abetted by poor lawyering from certain plaintiff’s lawyers adopted the non-sense. I would file MSJ’s quoting the insurer’s materials on burden of proof, etc.. and the insurer would pony up a ton of money to prevent its fraudulent arguments from being exposed.

    Why do you think use of water lines is also now per se bad faith? The same reason. They don’t tell you squat about what caused the damage— they are very arbitrary.

    If my house floods and I have zero wind damage, I have made a prima facie showing for accidental direct physical loss. The h/o insurer will easily meet its burden of proof, but nonetheless I have met my burden of accidental, direct physical loss.

    This is critical in say a slab case where the house is gone, but you find a detached roof. I have shown accidental, direct physical loss, now the insurer who sent a A/C repairman to adjust the claim must prove storm surge destroyed the house. Good luck on that one.

  32. Take the Wegners’ home for example.

    I do not know the facts, but I assume there was damage to the roof that allowed rain water to enter. Everybody knows rain water finds its lowest point. I know from personal experience the extent of damage a broken pipe in the attic can cause in a short period of time.

    The fact the Wegners had a 2 story home to me is irrelevant. Their home could very easily be a total loss without any flood waters. However, flood adjuster whose WHO employer is paid a % of what they write goes in with the P.O.L. waiver and says flood caused 50% of this damage without attempting to determine what non-excluded damage was caused first, and says you Wegners get policy limits. Let’s further say the Wegners had $250 in flood insurance and it would cost $300,000 to replace their home.

    The jury could very well conclude based on the facts that Lafayette did not meet its burden of proof relative to the total loss of the Wegners’ home, yet the Wegners are limited to $50,000.00. Lafayette escapes with a $250,000.00 credit.

    Why is that in anyway reasonable?

  33. SOP and/or Randy:

    As a matter of trying to undertsand Randy’s post relative to the Wegner decision on offset, I would like Randy to expound on his post that Wegner does not result in an automatic credit.

    I may need to use Randy’s argument down the road and would like to understand why Randy reads Wegner in that fashion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *