Wednesday, February 14, 2007
State Farm's decision to stop writing policies in Mississippi makes total sense and is a giant f*** you to the Mississippi. If the state wants to use its legal and regulatory power to make State Farm cough up hundreds of millions of dollars to policyholders for damages that were specifically excluded from their policy, then the state gets to live with the consequences of having one less insurer willing to underwrite homeowner policies in the state. Is it any surprise that State Farm doesn't want to stick around? Did the Governor and Attorney General really think that State Farm was going to bend over and accept being screwed?
There's a bit of a parallel here between this and the Duke (non)rape case. Mississippi politicians would have faced early retirement had they come out with anything less than full support for residents who had suffered losses in Katrina and who wanted to be reimbursed for their losses regardless of what their homeowner policies covered and didn't cover. They didn't care whether they were in the right legally and contractually, all they wanted was their money... and they were going to punish any politician who dared to oppose them. So the politicians did what politicians who are facing immense political pressure are prone to do: they caved to the pressure and used their bully pulpits to demonize State Farm and they twisted the law in ordering State Farm to make payments State Farm was under no obligation to do so... just as Nifong, under incredible pressure from the black community to bring charges, mouthed off and twisted the process in order to appease the voters.
And while both Nifong and the Mississippi politicians might have sidestepped problems with the voters, they are now paying a price for their antics. As well as they should be...