Nests of the
A map to some of the locations where the insurance
bloodsuckers hang around!
Sightings from The Catbird Seat
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The Catbird accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of any information that may appear in any of these sites. Just because YOUR insurance company MAY NOT APPEAR on this list, does NOT mean that your company is VAMPIRE FREE!
You must check them out for yourselves!
When checking out your insurance company, don’t forget to take along some garlic, a crucifix, some holy water, and a big, sharp wooden stake!
AND NEVER GO THERE ALONE AT NIGHT!
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Photo of what you may expect to find in a vampire nest...
THE VAMPIRE BAT INSUREM PHYLLOSTOMIDAE
So, if you’re completely prepared, sneak to the caves below
to see some of those nests where the hairy-legged
VAMPIRE BATS allegedly have been sighted...
Oct. 09, 2008
The Obama Surge: Will It Last?
By Joe Klein, Time
If Barack Obama is elected president of the United States on Nov. 4 — a prospect that is beginning to seem likely now — it may turn out that he closed the deal with a simple answer to a not-so-simple question posed by Tom Brokaw in the second presidential debate: "Is health care in America a privilege, a right or a responsibility?"
This is familiar territory for Democrats. The question was framed many years ago by Senator Ted Kennedy, who must have been smiling up on Cape Cod. "Health care should be a right, not a privilege," Kennedy would say, so often that it became a cliché.
But it was unfamiliar turf for John McCain, who responded by wandering through his answer — halfheartedly, it seemed — saying it would be his responsibility as President to provide affordable health care to those who needed it.
Obama began his response with a simple declarative sentence: "I believe that health care is a right for every American." The rest of his answer could be used as a template for how to deal with a complex issue in a town-hall debate. He began with a personal story: his mother, dying of cancer at age 53, having to fight her insurance company, trying to prove that her disease had not been a pre-existing condition.
He broadened that into a general proposition about the proper role of government: "It is absolutely true that I think it is important for government to crack down on insurance companies that are cheating their customers." And finally, he transformed the issue into a metaphor for the entire campaign: "That is a fundamental difference that I have with Senator McCain. He believes in deregulation in every circumstance. That's what we've been going through for the last eight years. It hasn't worked, and we need fundamental change."
Obama was right. The health-care issue illustrates not only the philosophical differences between the two candidates but also the political difficulties McCain has been having in this election. Obama's gamble is that the public — worried at the beginning of the campaign, terrified now — is ready for greater government support and regulation of the health-insurance system. That assumption has always been a sure loser in American politics. Republicans have perpetually and successfully waved the bloody flag of "socialized medicine."
But the employer-provided-health-care system is fraying, costs to average families are rising, and almost everyone has a friend with a horror story. McCain's plan is a half-baked vestige of Reagan-era ideology: it tilts the incentives away from employer-provided health insurance and assumes that people will act in their enlightened self-interest if they are thrust out into a free market.
That's absolutely true when it comes to buying refrigerators. But health insurance is complicated and scary; most people don't have the time or expertise necessary to make wise choices. They rely on their employers to make sure they're getting a good deal — and to fight for them if the insurance companies try to cheat them. And with many employers slouching away from that responsibility, the public seems ready to turn to the government for protection. In a collapsing economy, government regulation — forcing insurers to cover everyone at reasonable rates — sounds more comforting than stultifying.
The desire for more government activism is true across the board. All of a sudden, government-provided infrastructure programs — and that's what most of McCain's despised "earmarks" are — don't sound like such a waste of money, especially if they are married to alternative energy sources and conservation (which is why Obama talks constantly about "retrofitting" buildings to conserve energy).
All of a sudden, boring bureaucracies like the Securities and Exchange Commission, which have been undermined and underfunded by Republicans, become a crucial bulwark against the rampaging free-market anarchists on Wall Street. This is, as Obama says, a fundamental change — but not a radical one.
It is a modulation, a move to preserve the free market by controlling its excesses....
See the rest of the story at...
What the critics are saying about Michael Moore’s new film...
"Three years after winning Cannes' top prize for 'Fahrenheit 9/11,' docu helmer and agent provocateur Michael Moore returns to the Croisette with more polemics-as-performance-art in 'SiCKO,' an affecting and entertaining dissection of the American health care industry, showing how it benefits the few at the expense of the many. Pic's tone alternates between comedy, poignancy and outrage as it compares the U.S system of care to other countries."
-- Alissa Simon, Variety
"Moore has a genius for confrontational stunts — demanding a meeting with General Motors Chairman Roger Smith, chatting up an addled Charlton Heston on gun control, buttonholing Congressmen to see if any of them had actually read the Patriot Act — but the Cuba jaunt tops them all. It begins when he hears Congressional testimony indicating that detainees at Guantanamo were getting free colonscopies [sic.] and nutrition counseling."
-- Richard Corliss, Time Magazine
"Three years after conquering the Cannes Film Festival and winning the Palme d’Or for 'Fahrenheit 9/11,' Michael Moore has returned the amour big time with 'Sicko,' his most fluid provocation to date. A persuasive, insistently leftist indictment of the American health care system, as well as a funny valentine to all things French — and many things Canadian, British and Cuban — the film shows that while Mr. Moore remains a radical partisan, he has learned how to sell his argument with a softer touch. He’s still the P. T. Barnum of activist cinema, but he no longer runs the entire circus directly from the spotlight."
-- Manhola Dargis, New York Times
"The revolutionary filmmaker, who shattered all box-office records for a documentary with his last effort, 'Fahrenheit 9/11,' has returned to the Cannes Film Festival with another log to throw on the bonfire, his new film, 'Sicko.' Perhaps the most improbable 116 minutes ever conceived, it is a film about . . . health insurance!"
-- William Booth, Washington Post
"After the screening, several hard-nosed U.S. critics and journalists admitted to crying during the film."
-- Anthony Kaufman, Wall Street Journal
"It's very much in the Michael Moore vein — hilarious, but I was crying through about a third of it."
-- Peter Brunette, Boston Globe
" 'Sicko' has been rapturously received by audiences and critics at Cannes..."
-- Jill Lawless, Associated Press
" 'Sicko' is not just an indictment of an indefensible health care industry in the U.S. It's a rejoinder for those who think we can fix the soulless monster by tinkering with an unconscionable system that puts us further in thrall to those who created the crisis."
-- Rose Ann DeMoro, Huffington Post
"Filmmaker Michael Moore's brilliant and uplifting new documentary, 'Sicko,' deals with the failings of the U.S. healthcare system, both real and perceived. But this time around, the controversial documentarian seems to be letting the subject matter do the talking, and in the process shows a new maturity."
-- Roger Friedman, Fox News
"...a very strong and very honest documentary about a health system that's totally corrupt and that is without any care for its patients."
-- Stephen Schaefer, Boston Globe
See also: Dissecting Fristy; The Eagle Hooded: The 9-11 Coverup
November 30, 2006
Insurers Told to Stop Contingent Payouts
By MICHAEL GORMLEY, AP, Forbes
The attorneys general for three states have told four major insurance companies that they must end special commissions to agents and brokers as agreed in an earlier settlement.
The announcement Thursday involved ACE Group Holdings Inc. of Bermuda; American International Group Inc. of New York; The St. Paul Travelers Companies Inc. of St. Paul, Minn.; and Zurich American Insurance Co. Inc., a subsidiary of Swiss insurance giant Zurich Financial Services.
The four companies reached an agreement a year ago as part of a bid-rigging investigation. That deal requires the companies to end contingent commissions - which are special payments above regular commissions - when 65 percent of an insurance line is sold by companies that don't pay the commissions....
New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer made the announcement with his partners in the case, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
The companies must end the commissions Jan. 1, as they already have for excess casualty insurance, Spitzer's office said.
The settlement came as part of a multiyear investigation into bid-rigging and price fixing in the sale of corporate property and casualty insurance. Spitzer argued that the contingent commissions, paid to brokers and agents to steer business to the companies, were the equivalent of kickbacks. This, he said, unfairly raised the price to insurance clients....
In January, Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc., the nation's largest insurance brokerage, agreed to pay $850 million in restitution to end Spitzer's investigation into bid rigging and price fixing. The settlement became a model for other insurance company settlements.
Marsh & McLennan also agreed to stop the practice of contingent commissions.
In September, eight former executives of Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc. were charged with colluding with brokers and executives at major insurance companies to arrange noncompetitive bids for corporate customers of Marsh & McLennan, the nation's largest brokerage, based in New York.
The indictments alleged bid rigging from November 1998 to September 2004 with executives at AIG, ACE USA, Zurich American and other insurance companies.
A number of executives have entered guilty pleas to criminal charges stemming from the investigation; cases against others are pending.
Insurance Broker Liability
From Mealey’s Litigation Report
Volume 1, Issue #1 · March 2005
Redwood Oil Co.
Redwood Oil Co. filed a class action Jan. 21 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against several brokers and numerous insurers, alleging that they wrongfully conspired in a bid-rigging and price-fixing scheme to increase their profits at the expense of their clients (Redwood Oil Co. v. Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc., et al., No. 050-0390, N.D. Ill.)....
Redwood named Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc., Marsh Inc., Aon Corp., Aon Brokers Services Inc., Aon Risk Services Inc., Aon Group Inc., Aon Services Group Inc., Willis Group Holdings Ltd., Willis North America Inc., Universal Life Resources Inc., Benefits Commerce, Douglas P. Cox, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., ACE Ltd., ACE INA Holdings Inc., ACE INA, ACE USA, American International Group Inc., Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Munich American Risk Partners Inc., America Re-Insurance Co., Munich Re-Insurance Co., MetLife Inc., UnumProvident Corp., St. Paul Travelers Cos. Inc., Zurich American Insurance Co., Zurich North America and National Financial Partners Corp. (the Marsh defendants).
Redwood alleges that the brokers conspired in a contingent commission scheme. Redwood says the brokers represented themselves as independent firms whose goal was to find the best available insurance at the lowest available price for their clients. Many of the brokers specifically stated to clients that they did not receive compensation of any kind from insurers with whom they did business, Redwood says.
According to Redwood, the brokers abused the trust it and other clients had in them by steering business to insurance companies that paid the biggest commissions to Marsh rather than insurers that provided the lowest quotes. Redwood says the brokers, working together, steered business away from insurers who refused to pay contingent commissions.
Redwood alleges that this collusion among the brokers and insurers artificially inflated insurance prices and allowed them to reap profits they would not have been able to earn in a free and fair market.
Redwood says the Marsh defendants violated the Sherman Act by artificially restraining price competition in the market for insurance products, raising prices to an artificial level and stabilizing them there and depriving clients of the benefit of free and open competition.
The defendants violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act by conspiring together in an unlawful scheme to obtain money and using the U.S. Postal Service to disseminate materials in pursuit of that scheme, the plaintiff asserts. The Marsh defendants’ conspiracy violated state antitrust laws by restraining free trade, and their actions constituted unfair competition and deceptive trade practices as defined by statute in several states, plaintiff alleges.
Redwood seeks an injunction against the Marsh defendants’ unlawful actions, treble damages and disgorgement of profits.
Lawrence W. Schad, James Shedden, Michael S. Hilicki and Tony H. Kim of Beeler, Schad & Diamond in Chicago; W. Timothy Needham of Janssen, Malloy, Needham, Morrison, Reinholtsen & Crowley of Eureka, Calif.; Francis O. Scarpulla of San Francisco; Josef D. Cooper of Cooper & Kirkham in San Francisco; Michael P. Lehmann of The Furth Firm in San Francisco; and Steven J. Greenfogel of Meredith, Cohen, Greenfogel & Skirnick in Philadelphia filed the complaint.
December 30, 2004
Berkshire: SEC has questions
for General Re
OMAHA (AP) — Billionaire investor Warren Buffett's holding company said Thursday the Securities and Exchange Commission is asking for information about its subsidiary General Re.
Buffett is chairman of Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA). The company said in a news release that the commission wants documentation and information relating to non-traditional or loss mitigation insurance products from General Re and all its affiliates.
Federal and state regulators have been examining loss mitigation products to see whether insurance companies sold products that may not really be insurance, but instead may be aimed at helping companies smooth out earnings.
SEC spokesman John Nester said the agency would have no comment.
Marc Hamburg, Berkshire's chief financial officer, did not immediately return a message seeking further comment.
General Re spokesman Charlie Agin referred questions to Berkshire.
General Re, based in Stamford, Conn., is one of the four largest reinsurance companies in the world.
# # #
MORE BLOODSUCKERS TO COME
MEANWHILE, YOU CAN STAKE OUT THESE NESTS
ACE UP THE SLEEVE
AIG: THE AMERICAN IDOL OF GREED
ALLIED WORLD ASSURANCE
AMERICAN SAVINGS BANK: BEHIND THE BLINDS
THE POOP ON AON
THE BAD FAITH BUZZARDS
THE BANKRUPTCY BUZZARDS
THE BERMUDA FRAUDS
THE CHUBB GROUP
CITIGROUP: VAMPIRES IN THE CITY
CONFESSIONS OF A WHISTLEBLOWER
A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING KAMEHAMEHA’S COURT
CONSECO: WHERE DID THE MONEY GO?
DIRTY GOLD IN GOLDMAN SACHS
DIRTY MONEY, DIRTY POLITICS & BISHOP ESTATE
THE EAGLE HOODED: THE 9-11 COVERUP CONTINUES
FIRST INSURANCE COMPANY OF HAWAII
THE GREAT NEST EGG ROBBERIES
HAWAIIAN INSURANCE COMPANIES
THE KAMEHAMEHA SCHOOLS PENSION PLAN
KEMPER INSURANCE COMPANIES
THE KISSINGER OF DEATH
MARSH & McLENNAN: THE MARSH BIRDS
MARSH & McLENNAN’S MARSH AFFINITY SERVICES
THE PRUDENTIAL: A NEST ON SHAKY GROUND
RELIANCE INSURANCE GROUP
RICO IN PARADISE
THE SILENCE OF THE WHISTLEBLOWERS
SONGS OF THE WHISTLER
THE ROYAL & SUNAMERICA
THE TITLE INSURANCE VULTURES
TRANSYLVANIA TRAVELERS IN ST. PAUL
VAMPIRES IN THE CITY
VAMPIRES IN THE VESTA INSURANCE GROUP
VULTURES IN THE MEADOWS
WHAT PRICE WATERHOUSE?
WILLIAM SIMON SAYS...
THE WILLIS GROUP
YAKUZA DOODLE DANDIES
ZEPHYR INSURANCE COMPANY
ZEROING IN ON ZURICH FINANCIAL SERVICES
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Last Update March 14, 2009, by The Catbird
August 27, 2006: Originally posted in www.the-catbird-seat.net
March 13, 2007: Judge David Ezra signs Order to shut down website
March 14, 2009: Latest update on www.kycbs.net
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