Interviews & public forums with elected officials & aspiring candidates

Coastal insurance reform continues

April 23-29, 2015 edition of LAGNIAPPE Weekly features an article by Eric Mann about HHII's role in getting Clarity law passed and its current efforts to initiate a working group appointed with the Governor's approval to develop a plan for what HHII calls “fair property insurance premiums, deductibles and availability” in the state.  Make sure you visit the whole article by clicking here.

Posted 4/28/2015

HHII MEETS WITH COASTAL 'MOVERS & SHAKERS'

HHII members continue to meet with local people of influence to make them aware of how the Clarity Law data has exposed the discriminatory, unjust and excessive cost of coastal insurance.  They have included, among others, Fairhope Mayor Kant and City Councilman Jack Burrell, County Commissioner Chris Elliott and The League of Women Voters (LWV), Baldwin County. HHII appreciates the time and attention it received from these busy people and the efforts of those who made the meetings possible.

Posted 10/31/2014

CONGRESSIONAL PRIMARY IS TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24

Congressional candidates come out on HHII insurance questions.

HHII representatives interviewed all 12 candidates running for District 1 congressional seat. They asked all candidates the following four questions:

1. Will you make the Coastal Re-insurance Multi-state entity part of your platform as you campaign?

2. Will you be accepting campaign contributions from the insurance industry?

3. What do you believe are solutions to the Flood insurance crisis?

4. Will you meet w. us if you are elected 3 months after you take office?

You can click here to scroll through the attachment and read their answers.

HHII asked each candidate to give a one or two-sentence response to the four questions. The link to longer answers is at the end of each candidate’s response. The candidates are listed in alphabetical order by political party. Where possible, leading FaceBook photographs were used.

HHII would like to thank Carol Peterson for taking the lead and arranging for this event to happen.

God bless you all as you consider which of these candidates deserves your vote.

Posted 9/17/2013

Home Insurance Consumer Survey

United Policy Holders, a non-profit organization that is a voice and an information resource for insurance consumers in all 50 states, has prepared a short survey to gather information from consumers about the current cost and quality of home insurance in various states.

In recent years, consumers across the United States have been victimized by shrinking coverage and rising rates. The data collected through this survey will help non-profits that are working for fairness in home insurance rates and claims.

Please help HHII and participate in this survey by clicking hereNo insurance companies are involved in this project and no personal information about you will be revealed without your express consent.

We are up to 1,460 survey responses! The number keeps climbing, so keep spreading the word. We intend to keep it open until participation starts to level off.

Updated 3/5/2013

HHII DISTRICT 35 SENATORIAL CANDIDATES' FORUM

Theodore HHII pulled off a super forum in just 20 days and last Thursday night (1/24/2013) a crowd of about 80 people showed up to hear how the three candidates vieing to replace Senator Ben Brooks in District 35 would respond to questions they had received in advance from HHII.

Brooks resigned following his election as a Mobile County circuit judge.  The three candidates for the position are Republicans Jim Barton, Bill Hightower and Nick Matranga.  The Alabama Democratic Party did not field a candidate.

Barton is a state Representative who's held the House District 104 seat in Mobile since 2000. Matranga is a retired Marine colonel and commercial airline pilot. Hightower is a business consultant and board member of the Mobile County GOP.

The race will be decided in the GOP primary on Jan. 29, with a runoff scheduled March 12 if no candidate receives a majority of the vote.

To read the questions and the candidates answers, click here.

We need a senator from District 35 who will fight
for just wind premiums!

Posted 1/29/2013

GOVERNOR'S POLICY REPRESENTATIVE VISITS HHII

We met Jill Boxler (above), the Governor's policy advisor on insurance, at
I-65 and 225 at 11am and drove to Prichard.

In the front yard of the Gayle's a small group of about 10 people shared with Jill how they have been affected by the wind insurance crisis - what premiums were in 2005, what they are now, how much the deductibles are and if mitigation is an option as a way to bring down premiums.  We were on a strict schedule and left after a half hour.

We visited Mid-Town and Daphne and had the same sort of turn out and the same amount of time - 1/2 hour. The common thread was that people had seen their premiums go up at least 200%, their deductible was outrageously high, from $5 - 20K (safe in their bed mattresses ready to fork over to the insurance companies - heehee) and reduced coverage.

 Mitigation is unthinkable because the numbers don't work - who can get a loan, or has on hand 7 - 15K dollars and then get only a 15 - 35 % reduction in a premium.

Despite our best efforts to plan right we got to Lillian 15 minutes late, but over 65 people were waiting and eager to tell their stories. People gave testimony for over 40 minutes.

Jill was gracious, warm and an excellent listener. We look forward to further conversations with her. Thank you Governor Bentley!

Picture added 8/29/2012

GOVERNOR BENTLEY MEETS WITH HHII REPRESENTATIVES

On July 23, 2012, Governor Bentley met with a group including representatives from all HHII chapters, United Citizens of Pritchard, & BISCO, Louisiana.

The Governor was gracious in his reception, unpretencious, and quickly put the group at ease.  He listened intently to the presentations, asked probing questions, and was forthright in spelling out the political obstacles to a mult-state initiative (see post below).

HHII repeatedly emphasized that the Governor’s interests and our interests are closely aligned and that he would benefit from a genuine grassroots voice, such as HHII because we make it our ministry to listen to thousands of citizens of all stripes, to think together, to do our research and to pray.

We also explained that the power plays between the insurance industry, the lobbyists, the legislators and government agencies produce stalemates. This common dynamic can only be broken if the Governor's office will support true grassroots efforts. We made it clear that we believe that the Alabama DOI is biased against the southern counties.

Governor Bentley said that he would ensure that the data collected as a result of passing the Clarity Law will be pure.

He will name a person on his staff to act as a liaison with HHII and who will ensure HHII has the opportunity to proactively articulate our perspective on insurance issues.

He also said that he would like to explore further a multi-state solution and that would be part of the agenda with his staff person.

Our allotted time slot was 45 minutes, but Governor Bentley allowed us almost an hour and a half before he was called away.  We are grateful to the Lord for such a fruitful visit.

The next morning, one of Governor Bentley's policy people who hat sat through the meeting called Michelle looking for an opportunity to come down and learn more about ACT-II / HHII, the issues we are addressing, and our recommendations for helping homeowners in the coastal counties. She went on to say she looked forward to this discussion and to providing our thoughts to the Governor to consider as he continues to grapple with homeowners insurance issues.

Posted 7/25/2012

HHII INTERVIEWS TIM RUSSELL

HHII met with Tim Russell, who is the chairman of the forthcoming governor's blue ribbon task force on insurance, on May 26, 2011.  Tim personally asked the governor to name Michelle as a consumer representative on the commission.  Other comments:

 -- The governor is going to expand the marching orders to include developing insurance-think for all of Alabama (because of the tornadoes).
 -- All meetings will be in Montgomery. (Otherwise we'd have to have one down here and one in Birminghma and bnack and forth, plus, if all the meetings were down here, it would cause a perception-problem for people up state.)
 -- He imagines six, day-long meetings :

(1) How insurance works in Alabama
(2) How Alabama taxes operate;
(3) turned over to HHII (he said he would turn it over to HHII, not to consumer reps);
(4) turned over to Department of Insurance regulatory bodies;
(5) Breakdown into subcommittees to develop recommendations;
(6) Agree on recommendations.


HHII asked him to make definitions, description of the problem and principles part of the Meeting 1 discussion, and Tim seemed agreeable. He made a note on his tablet.

HHII asked if we could have a budget to fly in some experts, such as Robert Hunter.  Tim said he knew Robert Hunter from testimony events in Congresin years past -- in which Hunter was on the other side.  He said he held Hunter in high regard even though they were on opposite sides.  He said he would check with the governor on this.  Calling in our experts was not a problem. The only problem was whether the state would pay their expenses.

Tim said he would have to think about the idea of permitting a minority report.

He said that wind-and-hail is too big for state-level solutions. The federal government needed to create a Catstrophe Fund. He and former Congessman Gene Taylor are strong supporters of each other.

Tim said that if the commission just got the disparate taxes charged insurance companies levelled, so that all were charged the same thing, the Task Force "would be worth it." (This is a concern.  The tax differences charged Alfa verses others is only 3 points or so.  Based on previous conversations, HHII is confident Tim imagines the inequity being resolved by raising Alfa's taxes up to what the rest pay.  This would add $35 million to the state budget which -- again, extrapolating from prior conversations -- he would like to see applied to his pet project, a captive insurance company.  Tim has invested $600,000 personal money in the idea.)

Tim said several times that he has a passion for justice. He's a direct descendent of Nurse Goody, the last matron to be hung in Salem duriung the Salem Witch Trials. The modern museum of witchcraft in Salem, where Dan bought his coffee cup when he and his wife were in Boston, is his grandmother's, who was hung, house.  That was part of the stories of where his passion for justice arises.

HHII found the conversation comfortable.  Tim seemed desirous of solutions. Fixing this problem would be a nice legacy. Fixing it at the cost of his long-time comrades in insurance might be more legacy than he can stand, but we'll see. Keep in mind, too, though, that he will be running for Probate Judge in all Baldwin County next year, so he has something to lose if he gets wierd.

Posted 05/27/2011

HHII MEETS WITH TIM RUSSELL

HHII representatives met recently for a research meeting with the Alabama Commissioner of Revenue, Tim Russell.

The topic was an Alabama captive, if sufficiently capitalized would need to have a hefty amount of reinsurance and might be able to reduce premium rates by 25 – 40% because they would not have to pay taxes on the premiums.

Posted 3/8/2011

This page last updated 6/16/2015