Potpourri Wednesday

Stuff has been piling up that I want to write about, and I’ve got to post on these things before they get stale.  There is only one possible solution — a Potpourri Wednesday.  So here it is.

  • This story from the Boston Globe is fascinating, it’s about Bay State insurers trying to learn how to advertise after emerging from a state-controlled market.   Here’s an excerpt:

But with auto insurance competition scheduled to launch April 1, local companies are starting to adopt much higher profiles, unveiling branding campaigns designed to tell drivers who they are and what they stand for.

Unlike Geico’s off-beat cavemen and gecko ads, the local ads are very serious, stressing safety, responsibility, and knowledge of the local market.

"When you grow up in a socialist system, it’s hard to be light-hearted," quipped Peter Robertson, Massachusetts legal counsel for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

Personally, I get tired of efforts to sound serious.  So much of what passes for legal writing and legal discourse is a desperate attempt to act serious to cover up what you don’t know with that false, boring "voice of authority" persona.  This is often what I deal with all day.  So ads that lighten my day, that show recognition of my personhood, are ones that I remember. 

  • This is a good story by Becky Mowbray of the Times-Picayune about a forum on coastal insurance that drew members of Congress, state insurance commissioners and officials from insurers such as Allstate, State Farm and Travelers.  The discussion about a national catastrophe fund is interesting, as was the reaction of state insurance commissioners to Travelers’ proposal involving limited federal regulation — I’ve said it before, states will scream like banshees if you try to take away their profitable regulation of insurance.

But Travelers’ plan was met with skepticism by the insurance commissioners, who would lose territory under the proposal. They questioned whether it was a back-door way for insurance companies to get a long-desired system of federal regulation — a suggestion that Miletti denied.

Alabama Insurance Commissioner Walter Bell, president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, questioned why Travelers couldn’t accomplish its goals through a system of interstate compacts and accreditation under the existing state regulatory structure.

Donelon expressed concern about what would happen to local regulations, such as Louisiana’s statute that makes it difficult for insurance companies to drop customers after three years. "I’m very concerned about the Travelers approach being a vehicle for federal regulation, which I believe to be the same as deregulation of the industry, which would leave the consumer at greater risk," he said.

  •  This story from Kentucky is about a $1.4 billion lawsuit against Allstate.  This is another one of those stories that deals with a plaintiff lawyer that is going around the country with wild tales about Allstate.  I don’t really know about the allegations that get made in stories and some lawsuits, except that when I try to focus on them, they seem just a little like a headline in the Weekly World News — "Abe Lincoln Was A Witch," or something of that sort.  As I said, I don’t really know.  Maybe someone who knows more about this case can leave a comment or send me an e-mail.   
  • You know, the state election in Mississippi is just next month.  Attorney General Jim Hood and challenger Al Hopkins have been ripping each other to shreds.  Witness this story, where Hopkins says Hood is engaged in illegal activity regarding awarding state legal contracts.  This story says the state may seek to recover some of the money.  In the first story, Hood says Hopkins got his own no-bid state contract for $100,000.  Hood has also accused Hopkins of padding his resume to make it seem he has more legal administrative experience than he actually does.  Y’all Politics has this entertaining riposte to those charges.

This is going to be a fun race to watch.     

  •  Lastly, I’ve liked Chrissie Hynde since way back when the Pretenders sang Talk of the Town.  Always looked tough, like she would smash a guitar over your head as soon as look at you.  Reminds me a lot of people, men and women, boys and girls, that I grew up with.  The band around her changed over the years, wasn’t as innovative, but she actually got better as an artist and a singer.  Most singers, I don’t believe a word they say, it’s all technique.  But she’s different, totally sincere, totally believable.  Take a look at these two videos and see if you agree.  Here she’s singing Back on the Chain Gang and here she’s singing I’ll Stand By You.


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