Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Truthmatters, May 21, 2007.
Lott, `Scorned' After Katrina, Targets State Farm, Allstate
By Brian Faler
May 21 (Bloomberg) -- ``Are you kidding me?'' says Senator Trent Lott, a Mississippi Republican, when asked why he's so critical of insurance companies.
Lott, 65, launches into a critique of the industry, peppering it with words such as ``arrogant'' and ``mean- spirited,'' statistics about company profits and executive pay and angry questions about why its lobbyists are fighting a clutch of bills he is pushing -- including one that would strip companies such as State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. and Allstate Corp. of their 62-year-old exemption from federal antitrust laws.
The Senate's No. 2 Republican has become the industry's No. 1 critic in Congress ever since he lost a house to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. While Lott recently settled with his insurer, State Farm, after a year-long court battle, he is continuing the fight in the Senate. His experience, the senator says, has convinced him that an industry he defended his entire career is in need of reform.
``I'm like a woman scorned,'' Lott says. ``I'm prepared to continue to kick their fanny until the last day I'm alive on this Earth because they have mistreated too many people.''
Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute, says Lott's proposals would make it harder for companies to operate.
Record Claims, Record Catastrophe
``The most important story here is that the insurance industry paid, without insolvency, a record number of claims in a record catastrophe year to a record number of people,'' says Hartwig, whose New York-based organization represents insurance companies including Allstate, State Farm and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.
The industry, which between 1990 and 2006 gave almost two- thirds of its campaign donations to Republicans, might have expected increased scrutiny after Democrats won control of Congress in last year's elections. The criticism from Lott is even more surprising given his long-time alliance with insurers.
Lott traces his support back more than 35 years to when he worked for a Mississippi law firm that defended insurance companies. Since he was elected to the Senate in 1988, no industry has contributed more to his campaigns, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group in Washington that tracks political donations.
Lott was Senate majority leader until December 2002, when he resigned under fire for praising former South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond's 1948 segregationist campaign for president. Lott returned to the Republican leadership last year when he was elected minority whip.
Winds or Water?
His insurance fight began with a dispute with Bloomington, Illinois-based State Farm, the largest U.S. home and auto insurer, over whether it was Katrina's winds or water that flattened his beachfront home in Pascagoula. Most private insurers don't cover flooding because it's difficult to predict, leaving that instead to the government's National Flood Insurance Program.
Lott's case was particularly tough because the storm left nothing of his home -- ``zero,'' he says -- that might have helped investigators. Lott became one of tens of thousands of Gulf Coast homeowners whose claims were rejected when State Farm decided the damage to his house was caused by flooding. Lott calls the decision ``total bull.''
Walk a mile in someones shoes and you learn alot about life.
If State Farm hadn't messed with Lott and accepted his claim, then Lott would have remained blissfully ignorant of the complaints many people have made about these insurance companies.
You would have thought they would be smart enough to pick his name out and give him special treatment.
They just let him squirm like they did all his niehgbors.
Now he KNOWS what the corporate world is really like for the average Joe.
I find it hillarious that a Repbublican can do no right without liberals making excuses why there can be no honorable reason why he would change his belief in something.
The fact is, A LOT of -- I would say MOST -- people walk around blissfully ignorant of many things, following the family/party tradition until something really ugly called reality slaps them square in the face.
If Lott was just some self-centered bastard, his crusade would have ended with his settlement. Since it has not, perhaps he is trying to do the right thing?
I mean, which of YOU think the insurance industry is an above-board, honest and good thing to have? The lot of them are scam artists, IMO.
Gunny look at what I said .
He saw the light.
Now he knows how average Joes feel.
He walked a mile in someone elses shoes and learned something.
I dont think that is maligning him.
One, you only presume to know that he didn't "know how the average Joe feels" before getting screwed by an insurance company, and it looks to me like he walked that mile in HIS shoes.
Plus he has much better access to the media than the average Joe so he can call real attention to the problem. I don't know what insurance legislation Lott had worked on before Katrina, but I guess overall it's a good thing that State Farm treated him like any other schlub. He has the means where he won't suffer too badly for it - it's not like he has to live in a FEMA trailer - and it sounds like he's really got a fire under his ass about it.
"I'm like a woman scorned."
Why are insurance companies exempt from anti-trust laws?
yeah but you called him a republican. THAT is maligning him.
Good for Trent. But you gotta admit that he rode the back of big allstate for 35 years and apparently didn't have himself on the right side of the equation.
So now in his twilight he sees the light. This reminds me of Tenet's after the fact admissions.
A mixed blessing
Hey I think Lotts is genuine,Im not sure about Tennets
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