September 25, 2006

“We have survived two devastating storms and I will not allow our citizens to fall victim to fraud or abuse as we rebuild Louisiana. I am pleased that the U.S. Department of Justice and our state Attorney General have joined me in protecting our citizen’s claims for housing assistance.”

—Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, introducing the “Zero Tolerance” program, a collaborative effort among federal and state officials that allows citizens to report fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement of funds in the Road Home housing recovery program. Applications for the program are currently being received, but some have sought to defraud the hurricane-ravaged victims of Louisiana who are trying to rebuild or repair their homes. Examples of dishonest practices include unscrupulous contractors defrauding homeowners or dishonest homeowners filing false claims for assistance. Source: Louisiana Attorney General’s Office.

“All I can say is that I have a strong moral barometer that does not permit me to be inappropriately persuaded.”

—Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland, commenting on a study by The Oklahoman of campaign records from January 2005 through July showing that about $1 out of every $3 raised by Holland came from out-of-state contributors. About a quarter of those donations are from insurance industry related sources. Gov. Brad Henry appointed Holland, a Tulsa Democrat, last year to replace embattled former Commissioner Carroll Fisher, who resigned after the state House of Representatives impeached him on five charges. Source: Associated Press

“Consumers should always remember there is no quick fix for debt or credit issues, and they should be wary of any company that suggests otherwise.”

—Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, announcing an agreement with a Dallas-based “debt settlement” company that will result in refunds to consumers who filed or will file complaints about fees for services that were often confusing or misleading. DebtXS L.P. agreed to halt all deceptive advertising of its debt settlement services, including its claim to positively affect consumers’ credit scores and provide legal advice. Source: Texas Attorney General’s Office

“We expect slightly above-average activity in September and that October will likely have below-average activity. We now predict that total seasonal activity will be slightly below the long-term average.”

—William Gray and Phil Klotzbach, forecasters at Colorado State University, reporting they have lowered their hurricane predictions for the year, based on below-average activity in August, as well as the ocean-weather patterns. The team still expects three hurricanes, two of them major, to form in the Atlantic basin this month. In October, the researchers expect two named storms, one hurricane, but zero major hurricanes. They have reduced the overall number of days they expect tropical storms and hurricanes to be active during September and October. Source: Colorado State University

“This amendment correctly recognizes that when we act as an agent for the insurer, it is appropriate for us to accept contingent compensation from the insurer.”

—Greg Case, Aon’s president and CEO, describing an agreement from five agencies in three states—New York, Illinois and Connecticut—to amend its settlement agreements so that it can accept contingent compensation from an insurer for which Aon is acting as a general agent or underwriter. Previous settlements over charges of bid rigging and account steering against Aon and other large brokers, prohibited the company from accepting any contingent compensation. Source: Aon Corp.

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Insurance Journal West September 25, 2006
September 25, 2006
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