February 8, 2009

No Scapegoats in Mississippi

“We will continue to work with all companies in providing an available, accountable and affordable market in Mississippi, and look for solutions, not scapegoats, in solving the insurance crisis we are all facing.”

—Mississippi Commissioner of Insurance Mike Chaney in a letter reassuring state leaders and policyholders that no big insurance companies are leaving Mississippi. Chaney issued the statement after State Farm said that it is withdrawing from Florida. Chaney said he spoke with State Farm and learned the company had no similar actions planned for Mississippi.

Iced In

“We have plenty of folks ready to go, but there are some limitations with roads closed and icy conditions.”

—FEMA spokeswoman Mary Hudak responding to calls that her agency help after an ice storm that took 42 people lives and knocked out power to 1.3 million customers from the Plains to the East Coast.

Coach Immunity

“In this school setting case, the complaint’s allegations of deliberate indifference, without more, do not rise to the conscience-shocking level required for a constitutional violation.”

—The opinion by a federal court in Georgia that Rockdale County High School coaches were entitled to qualified immunity as public employees performing their duties, shielding them from a suit brought by the parents of a 15-year-old who died after a preseason practice in the summer of 2006.

Middle Strategy

“This truly is a strategic move not a financial move. The data [on independent agents’ market share] is pretty compelling… For years, agents and brokers have sought to place their middle market clients with Liberty Mutual but couldn’t access us because we distributed directly to that segment of the market. Now they can. And we are giving middle market businesses what they want, the opportunity to have Liberty Mutual as their carrier, and still work with their trusted advisor—their agent or broker.”

—J. Paul Condrin, Liberty Mutual’s president of Commercial Markets, telling Insurance Journal why his company decided to drop its direct sales to middle market and go with independent agents and brokers only.

Tanks a Lot

“If it is a mom-and-pop and the margins are slim, it’s not worthwhile for them to spend $250,000 to $300,000 to upgrade the tanks. Some will shut that down and just run the convenience store. You will see more and more of it by the end of the year.”

—Jack Barsin, president of Tank Insure Inc. in Florida, in a story about hundreds of gas stations around the state shutting down because their insurance companies insist they install costly new underground gas tanks. An estimated 20 percent of the state’s 8,000 gas stations have yet to make the change.

From This Issue

Insurance Journal West

Insurance Journal Magazine

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