State Farm withdraws from Mississippi

by Ted Frank on February 16, 2007

Others have mentioned or anticipated State Farm’s withdrawal from the Mississippi homeowners’ and commercial insurance markets in the wake of the Jim Hood/Dickie Scruggs campaign against them (Krauss; Olson; Wallace; Adams; Rossmiller). But how many tie in Hurricane Katrina, Dickie Scruggs, Jim Hood, Trent Lott, and William Wordsworth? I provide a historical perspective in today’s American.

Dickie Scruggs and Jim Hood have a proposed solution to the State Farm withdrawal: tell them they can’t write auto insurance, either. That will make Mississippians better off!

{ 9 comments }

1 Joe Bingham 02.16.07 at 3:21 pm

We’re having the same nightmare here in FL. Governor Crist (who got famous persecuting anyone who raised prices on precious resources after natural disasters) just passed insurance reform, which “makes insurance more competitive” by (1) not allowing insurers who don’t offer homeowner’s to offer auto–same idea these twits propose, and (2) mandating 20-35% premium price cuts.

Of course, they cancelled policies and pulled out, so he issued an executive order prohibiting policy cancellations or premium increases pending further legislation.

Limitless executive power?

2 Joe Bingham 02.16.07 at 3:22 pm

(As of now, 3 insurers are offering no new policies, and Allstate will be cancelling 40,000 policies if they’re successful in suing to get the executive order revoked; their case is that the order can’t apply retroactively by applying to policies for which they’d already mailed out 90-day notices.)

3 Tex Mex 02.16.07 at 5:08 pm

There is an obvious solution:

Cap premiums at pre-storm levels and then exempt all personal lines insurers from Federal Counterfeiting laws. Instant guaranteed renewals!

Pallets stacked with crisp $100 bills can be produced, shrink wrapped and shipped in whatever amounts Scruggs feels his clients are owed, with every third pallet going to Dickie.

4 Bumper 02.16.07 at 5:17 pm

Technically SF is not leaving MS, they are just not writing any new policies. Of course, the way the Insurance Commissioner is acting it may not be long before the headline is accurate.

5 Captain Spaulding 02.16.07 at 5:17 pm

Regarding Governor McNutt’s 1841 invocation of Judas and Shylock, was he implictly or explicitly blaming the Jews for Mississippi’s problems?

6 Ted 02.16.07 at 6:45 pm

Judge for yourself:

Are we going to make our children serfs, asked the Governor, to “Baron Rothschild, with the blood of Judas and Shylock in his veins, who has advanced money to the Sublime Porte and taken as security a mortgage upon the holy city of Jerusalem and the sepulchre of our Savior”?

7 bubba 02.16.07 at 9:18 pm

now that homeowner policies cover flood damage, shouldn’t everyone who had flood insurance be reimbursed their premiums?

8 Mike Perry 02.16.07 at 9:47 pm

Don’t just blame Mississippi for this sort of stupidity. Back in the 1980s n Washinton state where I live, they passed a law requiring health insurers to provide retroactive coverage for expensive diseases such as AIDS. Someone could wait until they had a disease with $50,000+/year bills, and then get insurance. It made no sense.

So the only medical insurance State Farm offers here is a short-term policy between jobs. Fortunately, the state legislature had enough sense not to force them to halt their car insurance. State Farm has a forty-year history of my driving record, so I save quite a bit of money getting coverage through them.

Persistence and patience is probably the best policy for the insurance companies to take. Don’t move so quickly the legislature and governor have an excuse to overreact. Simply refusing to provide coverage for new business or the expansion of old businesses will eventually bring them to their senses as they see business after business decide to go elsewhere. If you can’t get fire insurance, you can’t even get a loan to build.

The key is inflicting a highly memorable dose of pain. Here in Washington, the politicians at all levels thought voter outrage would fade quickly after they rammed through two heavily subsidized sports stadiums about a decade ago. It hasn’t and has become a staple of western Washinton politics.

Our Seattle city politicians are as corrupt as ever, serving the interest of downtown real estate. But for big projects, they need state money and that has gotten very hard to get. Our mayor and city council want a pricey underground arterial much like Boston’s costly Big Dig. Our state legislature and now our governor are making it clear that if the city tries that, they’ll not get a penny from the state.

Politicians can learn if the voters teach them.

–Mike Perry, Untangling Tolkien

9 J.T. Wenting 02.18.07 at 1:45 am

Sadly the only thing politicians learn is what brings in the votes and they act accordingly in short periods before elections.
Any other time they only act in ways that fatten their own pockets and increase their own power.
If the state doesn’t give money to the city it means more money in the Swiss and Bahama bank accounts of top state politicians and employees…

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