Friday, October 13, 2006

An end to the Insurance Industry's Anti-Trust Exemptions?

I wouldn't hold my breath, but if it happens, it would be big news. Take a look at the New York Times' report on Sen. Trent Lott's (R-MS) response to the insurance industry's miserly handling of Hurricane Katrina claims. Here's the lede:
Sometimes, political connections come in handy. Ask Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi.

Mr. Lott, a Republican and former majority leader, is one of thousands of homeowners on the Gulf Coast who have been fighting with their insurers over payments for damage in Hurricane Katrina. In an interview yesterday, he said he was angry about the insurers’ “insensitivity and outright meanness” in rejecting many homeowners’ claims.

He said he inserted a provision into legislation, signed by President Bush last week, directing the Department of Homeland Security to investigate potential fraud by the insurance industry. Mr. Lott said he was also drafting legislation to challenge the industry’s exemptions from antitrust laws and had asked his staff to investigate the industry’s tax rates.

“I am outraged,” he said. “I’m concerned there are lots of abuses in the aftermath of the hurricane.”

Mr. Lott’s claim for the loss of his $400,000 house in Pascagoula was rejected by State Farm.
It's like an attorney at my firm quipped: "You know how a conservative is a liberal who's been mugged? A federal insurance regulator is a free-market republican whose claim is denied."

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