by Ana Maria
With a force seemingly more powerful than that of Katrina herself, the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee passed the Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act of 2007 keeping in tact the Multiple Peril Insurance Act that had recently been attached to it. In every day language, this means that the Democratically-controlled Congress just took a major step forward in protecting the 55% of Americans who live within 50 miles of the nation’s beautiful coastline. Score one for American families and businesses!
This began nearly two years ago with the insurance companies apparently devising a scheme though which to rip off Mr. and Ms. Home or Business Owners who had just been through the nightmarish Hurricane Katrina with her 22 tornadoes and winds at landfall that were at least 135 miles per hour. Katrina's winds beat down residences and businesses for up to three to four hours. Insurance companies like State Farm, Nationwide, and Allstate directed their agents that if so much as a smidgen of water were on the property to blame all the sustained damage on water.
Those directives and the subsequent documentation on how they were carried out are the foundation for the racketeering (RICO) lawsuit that the Scruggs Katrina Group filed against State Farm and its two corporate partners. [See State Farm, Partners, and RICO: What a Racket! It's another piece I did. You'll love it.]
ABC News was able to obtain a copy from State Farm files of the original FAEC [Forensic Analysis & Engineering Corp.] damage report, which included the image of an attached "Post-it" note that read, "Put in wind file - do not pay bill - do not discuss"
Image at ABC's The Blotter.
The agents for the federal government’s flood insurance program were the very same agents for State Farm, Nationwide, and Allstate and the like. Insurance companies handed down their directives: Do the paper work shuffle, leave your conscience at the door that Katrina blew away, and deliver the bad news to Mr. and Ms Home or Business Owners.
Routinely, the news went something like this.
Mr. and Ms. Homeowner, your wind policy on your homeowner’s insurance won’t pay for any damage. We want to keep to ourselves the $108 billion in profits our industry will make in 2005 and 2006. We have faith that you’ll be ok in spite of our reckless, selfish, irresponsible behavior. We’re greedy bastards who show up religiously at church. We’ll be praying for ya! Do I hear an amen! God bless.Well, we have been blessed. We have Gulf Coast Representative Gene Taylor (D-MS), a heroic congressman who lost everything in Katrina, whose insurance company screwed over him and his family with failing to pay a penny before resorting to a lawsuit, whose own constituents were experiencing the same level of anguish that he and his family were experiencing.
We are blessed because Congressman Gene Taylor pulled out from the depths of his soul an indefatigable strength to carry on personally and professionally to champion this cause to ensure that America’s families and businesses all over the country never again are exposed to the ravages of corporate greed that has become so apparent in our nation’s insurance industry. To that I say Amen!
President Bill Clinton said something along these lines, “There isn’t anything wrong with America that can’t be made better by what’s right with America.” What is happening with this insurance reform bill is a fantastic example of Clinton’s wise words.
We are blessed because down here in Katrina Land, we reflect the rich tapestry that makes our nation envied the world over. We are of African, European, and Asian descent. We come from Central and South America. Our music is lively and soulful. Our food is hot, strong, and spicy. Our determination to persevere is strong.
To achieve the justice that every home and business owner in America requires in the aftermath of a natural disaster will require that all of us remain determined to persevere through the laborious and slow legislative process that is our form our government.
We can achieve this. The first step is to believe we deserve it. We do deserve it, and now we must embrace that very idea. The second is to believe that it is possible. We have proof that it is. The vote in subcommittee last week—along party lines, I might add, and the vote yesterday—again along party lines with a few conscientious Republicans joining the leadership of every Democrat on the committee. We have achieved step two.
The next step is to take concerted steps in the direction of this legislative dream. You know what that means! It’s political hell raising time. Woohoo! The very next vote will be in the entire chamber of the House of Representatives. It could be as soon as next week before the congress breaks for its August recess. We can say that to achieve our political dreams, we must engage in a bit of political hell raising. What fun!
In the aftermath of Katrina, with the malice of forethought the insurance industry engaged in deceptive practices intent to steal from American home and business owners the benefits that they had paid to have. Through our own political hell raising, we can end the deceptive financial charade of the insurance industry.
We must contact our own congressional representatives and let him or her know that we support the Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act of 2007 ESPECIALLY because it includes the Multiple Peril Insurance Act which protects America’s families and businesses.
Sharing our perspective on this critical matter is how we protect our families through expanding the flood insurance program to include wind coverage. Sharing our perspective is how we put a gust of powerful wind under our political sails—and sail into the next round of legislative victories for ourselves, our families, and our businesses.
[Here are political hell raising email and phone activities.]
If you enjoyed this, you may also wish to read . . .
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Commercial insurance rates will crush small businesses
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