Sunday, August 27, 2006

If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break

My last post took on the insurance industry on two issues:
  • They are larcenous lying cheats esp. in re: Katrina claims,
  • They make exorbitant profits from products I am legally forced to buy.
Don, the drive-by commentor, took issue with this characterization:
You fail to realize that most insurance companies do not make an operating profit, in fact in most cases they lose money on their underwriting. They make their profits by making sound investments with the premium payments they receive. You however have a blog so feel feel to spread slander and incorrect information.

Don, friend, I have to respond with two points: Bullshit, and so what.

First, of course the insurance business model includes investments. But unless they took the premium from the very first customer, invested it and earned Billions from it in what can only be considered a Ponzi scheme, then the investment capital comes from profits.

Second, when my meager 401k from working at Capitol Studios takes a market hit, I lose money. Too bad for me. But when State Farm loses money in the stock market from their "sound investments", they simply pass the loss onto us in the form of higher premiums. Thus, I am legally forced to buy a product, and I am forced to pay for the mistakes of management. In the "Free Market", so dear to conservatarians, I can only think of one way for this too happen: State Farm has better lobbyists than me. The Center for Public Integrity has much to say about insurance lobbying here and here.

This statement from the Wikipedia entry on Insurance Companies is especially poignant:
Additionally, “speculative risks” like those incurred through gambling or through the purchase of company stocks are uninsurable.

Except when you're a big insurance company. Bastards.

On your last point, Don, yes, I have a blog, which is nothing but my opinions. And though you tried to distract from my secondary point about the essentially slimy nature of insurance companies in general, you did not in any way contradict the main point, which is the evil practiced by these companies when facing large payouts. From the original ABC News article:
Cori Rigsby says she recalls a senior coordinator ordering that an engineering company be told to alter the findings in its report so that State Farm would not have to pay. "Tell them if they don't change their report, we're not paying their invoice," she remembers the supervisor saying.
They're still bastards. And your comment reads like a State Farm training manual. Thanks.

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