What Gulf Coast Congressman Gene Taylor wanted the Easter Bunny to bring him.
South Mississippi Living 4/07

Friday, June 29, 2007

Mr. “I can do my job” isn’t doing his job

Mr. “I can do my job” isn’t doing his job
Our state’s insurance commissioner, George Dale, has been rather busy of late speaking before audiences spewing forth one or another talking points provided by the insurance industry with which he is in the preverbal political bed. In his latest appalling display of happily carrying water for the insurance industry, Dale told the Clarksdale Noon Lions Club Katrina [was] "the worst natural disaster in U.S. history . . . and put an undue burden on insurance companies.”

What?! This publicly elected official is unapologetically expressing concern over Katrina’s devastating impact . . . not for families, neighborhoods, communities, and cities all across the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, the state in which he is elected to protect consumers from corporate insurance running amok over them? That would be empathizing with the folks with whom we would expect him to empathize. After all, he is the insurance commissioner for the people of Mississippi.

No, sir. Dale has the gall to reserve his empathy for the industry which all through the Katrina ravaged Mississippi Gulf Coast region has been ripping off consumers, families, businesses, right and left, Republican and Democrat, rich, poor and middle class. In his official capacity, Dale expresses concern for the corporations which boasted obscene billion dollar profits in the aftermath of . . . now, how did Dale characterize it? Oh yeah, “the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.”

A friend too shy for direct attribution and to whom I’ll refer to as a gloriously delightful celestial spirit who came to me in the night summarized Dale’s disgusting public betrayal.

”This is unbelievable. George Dale told the Clarksville Lions Club that Katrina ‘put an undue burden on insurance companies.’ If people pay premiums year in and year out, how is it an ‘undue burden’ for insurance companies to keep the faith with policy holders? I guess George thinks that it is an undue burden for a casino to have to pay off when someone pumps their dollars into a slot machine and hits the jackpot.”

Insurance Companies Hit Billion Dollar Jackpot
With a government insurance commissioner gleefully bouncing around the state touting the latest round of talking points the industry supplies him, no wonder the insurance corporations have been able to hit the billion dollar jackpot.

The Insurance Industry Institute reported that the private insurance industry boasted $44.2 billion in after-tax profits in 2005 and $63.7 billion in after-tax profits in 2006. That’s some heavy profit making. These profits were after the companies had paid out $40.6 billion in Katrina claims. Of course, that wasn’t all of the Katrina-related claims. The industry sent the U.S. federal government flood program a $23 billion bill.

So far, claims paid out on Katrina add up to $64 billion— and this amount only accounts for those who’ve been paid on their claims through 2006. By the end of last year, the private insurance companies had paid $41 billion. These same companies essentially handed a $23 billion bill to American taxpayers for damages that these private companies determined for themselves that flood waters had caused. How generous that the private insurance industry only stiffed the U.S. taxpayers for 36% of the bill, so far.

On his official government website, Congressman Gene Taylor, a good Democrat from the Katrina ravaged Gulf Coast of Mississippi, has an incredible collection of “documents that suggest fraud by insurance companies in the handling of Katrina wind and water claims.” These documents appear to officially direct claims adjusters with such doozies of corporate policies like this one from Nationwideif loss is caused by both flood and wind there is no coverage.”

NO coverage?!

Or this doozie from State Farm that instructed adjusters that “where wind acts concurrently with flooding to cause damage to the insured property, coverage for the loss exists only under flood coverage.”

Dale’s Foot-in-Mouth Disease
Dale’s insults to Katrina’s survivors continued. The Clarksville Press Registry reported

The enormous impact from Hurricane Katrina should leave Mississippians wondering if they should live "in harm's way," State Insurance Commissioner George Dale.
Let’s see now. According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

“Populations and built environments in coastal watersheds are growing rapidly, with 55 percent of the U.S. population already living within 50 miles of the
coast.”“The Coastal Community Development Partnership” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

The Coastal Community Development Partnership brings together NOAA and EPA offices to better support state and local governments as they promote safer and smarter development along the coast.

Is Commissioner Dale suggesting that 55% of the U.S. population move inland? Katrina’s devastation went well over 100 miles inland. How far inland would he recommend that over half of America’s families move? 150 miles inland? 200 miles? How would he recommend accomplishing that? If it isn’t hurricane country, it’s tornado country or blizzard country or earthquake country.

Dale should focus on doing the job to which he was elected rather than pretending to be the grand master of city planning.

Mr. “I-can-do-my-job” shouldn’t have one
In his impromptu speech before the state’s annual Municipal League conference held on the Gulf Coast this week, Dale repeated this mantra many times “I can do my job.” Thanks to John Leek at Cotton Mouth Blog, another Gulf Coast blog, we have video of Dale’s public admission.

Considering the man has been in the pocket of the very industry he has been responsible for regulating in the 32 years Dale’s been elected to this office, I’m glad to hear him admit that he can do his job. The question, of course, is “when is he going to start?”

Verrrrry Interesting
Before the Lions Club, Dale continued his showmanship in demonstrating his expertise in the foot-in-mouth department. "Can we survive another (Katrina) . . . ?" Excuse me?! This from a man who has all but prostituted himself for the insurance industry that has made recovery all but practically impossible for everyone involved?! Thanks to Dale’s buddies in the insurance industry and their shameless flackey with this Mississippi Insurance Commissioner, surviving Katrina has yet to come to a resilient conclusion.

When I read those highly insensitive words, I thought of the ever popular 1970’s comedy show Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In. The show had a character named Wolfgang, the Nazi soldier who would pop up behind bushes to say the infamous line "Verrry interesting...but schtupit!"

Yep. That's schtupit, alright. George Dale needs to voluntarily retire and work directly for the insurance industry he has protected from any real regulation.

Personally, I think the real question is this. "Should the good people of Mississippi even entertain the thought of surviving another year with an Insurance Commissioner who is a mouthpiece for an industry that ripped off the families and businesses of the Katrina-ravaged regions of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and New Orleans?!"

The answer is no.

Dale’s handling of the Katrina disaster alone should have the Democratic voters in South Mississippi sending this guy packing come the August primary.

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