Renfroe’s deposition in the Rigsby Whistleblower case-Interesting look into their thoughts on the case

December 18, 2007

You never know what your going to run across on different claim issues we like to follow in the claims industry. Today was one of those days that a follow up on the Renfroe / Rigsby whistleblower case lead me in a direction not expected on a Scruggs firm link to a deposition given by Jana Renfroe of the EA Renfroe firm which was given to the Rigsby attorney in March of 2007. It was hours worth of interesting reading not just from a human interest story in this major case with the players involved but from a management perspective which I felt could be a very useful training tool  as many issues came up in the form of questions that managers and owners of adjusting firms need to have a good handle on regarding employment, performance records they maintain on personnel, training records, all communications, and in maintaining all  deployment records with carriers.

I post about this deposition as it provides very useful and interesting insights into things claim managers need to be prepared to provide deposition testimony about should the need ever arise as has often happened in the aftermath of Katrina. The questions asked in the deposition of the EA Renfroe owners are things all managers should be prepared to answer should they be deposed on similar cases. The purpose of this particular deposition was made clear in the statements by the Renfroe’s attorney to Mr Hawley, the attorney representing the the Rigsbys. The deposition was taken in March of 2007 regarding the breach of contract allegations on the Renfroe / Rigsby contract. When Attorney Hawley (Rigsbys attorney) tried to bring in the issues of the wind vs water claim calls, objections were raised. I was surprised the attorney even tried to broach those topics with Mrs Renfroe as she testified in her deposition she was not an adjuster but had traveled with husband Gene in their early years prior to having children. I was most impressed with the fact that she had obtained her MBA and I  thought she made a credible witness on her own behalf  in the deposition as I read it.( I have to admit it would have been very interesting watch in person after doing kinesic interview technique training in my early years as an adjuster). I was a bit surprised at her lack of knowledge regarding more particulars on contacts at the carrier level and IDL certification specifics as the owner of the firm but her role was more financial and personnel related. I very much liked comments she made in her deposition regarding their desire to be “partners” with their independents and their wish that the Rigsbys had notified them of their concerns with what the Rigsbys felt were “irregularities” so they could have had the opportunity to investigate their allegations as they would with other concerns raised with carrier staff or independent personnel they deploy.

I have  wondered what the Renfroe’s position was on the Rigsby whistleblower case as I’m sure many of you have (they are owners of EA Renfroe who the Rigsbys worked for).

Today’s google alert sent an interesting link to this information on the
Scrugg’s site and I happened to click onto the link they had to Jana Renfroe’s
deposition taken in March 2007. It took hours to read to comprehend everything
but was a good learning tool as to things an adjusting firm or manager should
think about regarding contracts, regarding having a 1-800 hotline established
for your adjusters to report suspected fraud or wrong doing, and to consider how
your firm is going to look when being deposed on training requirements your firm
has, documents you maintain to keep up with those training achievements,
deployment selections, and how you track performance evaluations for your
independents. Of much interest is the comment on the last page of the deposition
by Jana Renfroe on page 94 when asked what she thought of the allegations made
by the Rigsby’s and her indication that “she didn’t know what to believe”.  
I’ll outline other allegations. Note on about page 80 where she testifies in her
deposition that thus far the attorney fees on the case have been about half a
million dollars….unreal! Also interesting her testimony that there is not a
joint litigation effort between Renfroe and State Farm on these issues. I’d been
wondering about that. 

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Here’s the Scruggs webpage:

http://www.scruggskatrinagroup.com/state-farm-on-the-defensive/index.php

Note- that the link above also has links to the AOL subpeona’s for the
Rigsbys personal email accounts ( I bet they hate having those email addresses
published!) 
 

Here’s the link to the subpeona on the Rigsbys AOL email:(watch what you say
even on your personal email!)

XXXXXX-link discard 3/09- Scruggs site down since he went to prison and no longer works.

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Link to Jana Renfroe’s deposition: (from above link)-link removed 3/09 as Scruggs site down

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If you missed it, here was the original complaint against the Rigsbys by EA
Renfroe: (I’ll see if slabbed has this-the Scruggs site is down)

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Here is some of the more interesting information summarized from the 94 pages of the
deposition (see numbers on bottom right of each page- each page has a number
(1-94) for whole page and each page of the transcript is like 4 pages reading
1-372 but I refer to the number 1-94 for the whole page in most cases.

It is very interesting reading this entire deposition to get a history on EA
Renfroe’s beginnings in the mid 90’s. Gene had been a long term adjuster/manager
with Crawford prior to opening their own firm in 94 or 95 in Atlanta. Many of
the early members and managers came from Crawford. Most impressive is that while
Jana has no adjusting background herself, she did travel with Gene prior to
having a child and later completed her degree as well as her MBA before they
opened EA Renfroe. The deposition is a who’s who of managers and “liasons” at
Renfroe and State Farm that they dealt with. These are some of the pages I
personally found most interesting, possibly given my State Farm background in
claims for 28 years to include catastrophe management:

 The first page of the deposition which was being taken by defendent Moran and Rigsby’s attorney, Mr
Hawley shows that Cori and Kerri as well as Gene Renfroe were present during Mrs
Renfroe’s deposition(thus the comment about kinesic interview observations). Note that the Renfroes’ attorney objected to any line of questioning during the deposition that could have been part of discovery on the
wind vs water issues and wanted the questions limited to questions about breach
of the employment contract so you’ll read many objections by the Renfroe’s
attorney during the course of the deposition.

Page 29 (pages 113-116)- How they hire- Ms Renfroe said they prefer offering employment to
retired military as a second career and other recruiting is done through word of
mouth via referrals from other adjusters. (Glad to see confirmed my assessment
that some of the major carrier independent players don’t solicit new employees
through advertisements but rely on their reputation thus many good adjusters are
left out of the mix leaving carriers with impression that there are no adjusters
available when a particular adjusting firm they use runs out of core players). On various other pages throughout the deposition they discuss their number of independents and state they originally had 100-150 and have grown to
about 1200. The testimony says they deactivate about 150 adjusters per year and
that over the course of time they have serviced State Farm claims since the mid
90’s they have had about 100 requests to deactivate an adjuster over performance
issues. Also somewhere in the report it indicates they sent about 300 adjusters
to Katrina and about 20 managers. I was surprised as I expected the numbers to
be much greater on the Katrina assignments.

Page 34 begins a history of their State Farm work and initial contacts with Dan
Kerrigan ( he used to handle all independent assignments). It is interesting
reading this section and seeing there isn’t more formal “courting” of this
client and that they deal with section managers and team managers on various
assignments with very little interaction as far as yearly meetings,etc…

Page 37- very interesting comments on Sales calls by Don Goodin of Renfroe for
non cat work in Atlanta, Chicago, and Arkansas where they can pick up non cat
assignments as being some of their only sales calls on the carrier.

Page 37- mentions some of the conventions they meet with carrier such as PLRB
and possibly windstorm conference,etc

Page 48- Comment that they sent about 300 adjusters to Katrina

Page 49- see their deployment criteria- primarily qualifications then seniority
then availability is the order they used

Page 52- Begins info on Rigsbys position as liasons on the State Farm Katrina
work. Also discusses beginning here the names of the State Farm section managers
and team managers involved.

Page 53- comment that they sent 20 or so liason managers were sent by Renfroe to
Katrina work for State Farm. Discusses who from Renfroe reported to Lecki King
(she is the one Scruggs group posted the photo of pleading the 5th during her depo on engineer firm questions)

Page 54- Starts discussing the employment contract Rigsbys signed with EA
Renfroe

Page 59- I found this strange- the Rigsbys attorney asking Jana Renfroe
adjustment questions on wind vs water when it is established somewhere in the
deposition that she had not been an adjuster yet he was trying to pin her down
on wind vs water coverage issues. She is not licensed adjuster and should not
have been making those coverage decisions anyway but the attorney didn’t seem to
be getting the point.

Page 62-63- See discussions on Code of Conduct report and what procedures they
had set up in their firm for adjusters such as Rigsby’s to report fraud or other
problems to the firm

Page 64- VIP- see reasons they are NOW setting up a 1-800 hotline they indicate
will be monitored by a 3rd party for adjusters to report wrongdoing to avoid any
further “excuses” by adjusters for not feeling comfortable to report wrong doing
by the carrier personnel or other independents

Page 65- Hawley wants to know how the Renfroe’s would have investigated the
allegations had the Rigsby’s ever reported it to them prior to reporting to
outsiders (note that in various places in the deposition they ask how they
handled investigations of performance issues of their independents or of a
carriers wrongdoing)

Page 71- A discussion of EA Renfroe’s connection with Haag Engineering (see
interesting comment on page 72 also alleging State Farm says they will use Haag
Engineering again)

Page 73- starts discussion of the “data dump” weekend and what knowledge Renfroe
had about it. Important note about what they didn’t know- all Rigsby would tell
Renfroe’s Don Goodin is that they couldn’t talk to them and that it wasn’t about
Renfroe but it was about what State Farm had done to them. This page also goes
on with the testimony about how Renfroe found out about the Rigsby’s from State
Farm but again were not told what they’d done but that they were being suspended
WITH PAY (my comment- unreal SF would pay them on daily management rate while
they were suspended but later in the testimony that say that one of the Rigsby’s
went out on stress leave and one said she terminated assignment so neither ended
up on the paid suspension apparently from this testimony in the depo of Jana
Renfroe)

Page 76- Says Cori called Mrs Renfroe in August to talk although they didn’t
complete the discussion as Mrs Renfroe ended the conversation at that time

Page 77- Says they didn’t know what was going on since Cori didn’t tell them and
State Farm Section mgr Dave Randall refused to tell them. They say it was when
their employees were first getting criminal investigation request for records
that they first started to have any idea what was going on yet they didn’t
pursue any additional facts from State Farm since Section Mgr Dave Randall told them he
couldnt tell them anything else other than that the Rigsby’s were to be
suspended.

Page 78- Renfroes’ first learn finally in August 06 (2 months after Rigsby’s
suspended) about the Sun Herald articles and about the 20/20 show as Rigsby’s
husband Paul Moran notified them of the articles ( Can you imagine the position
he must have been in? He is now divorced from Rigsby). Here she goes on to
explain in response to deposition question what rold Cori and Kerri played about
going to the attorney

Page 79-talks about the call from State Farm and the suspension issue again. Mrs Renfroe
comments she was “shocked and hurt” after watching the 20/20 program.

Page 80- Jana Renfroe admits it was “pretty quickly” after the 20/20 show that
SHE made the decision to sue the Rigsby’s “to defend our contracts and integrity
of our contracts”.. Interesting also is her comment that the Rigsby’s were “long
time trusted employees” (my comment-ouch – hmmmmmmmm what effect would that comment have on
future developments in the case?).

Page 81-Continues on page 81 about the Breach of the employment contract and Mrs
Renfroe’s belief the first breach occurred when the Rigsby’s didn’t come to Mr
and Mrs Renfroe to report the problem

Page 82- interesting questions and answers about the breach not involving fact
that they participated in criminal investigation- only the fact they never notified
them of the problem. Somewhere else in depo it says they wanted to be part of
the solution – not left out of the info until they went public.

Page 83- Rigsby’s attorney refers to State Farm as a “sacred cow”

Page 84- Jana refers to fact Rigsby’s had worked State Farm claim for 8 years and no prior
complaints and finding the alleged “irregularities” strange,etc

Page 85- In response to questions about what internal investigations they
conducted after they knew with other adjusters they say none because they didn’t
want to interfere with the ongoing criminal investigations

Page 86- Jana Renfroe says no one at Renfroe consulted with anyone one at State
Farm concerning filing the suit against Rigsby’s ( interesting as I would have
thought this had been discussed!)

Page 87….Ms Renefroe approximates current litigation on the Rigsby case now at
1/2 MILLION dollars…unbelievable!

Page 88- Jana Renfroe’s “absolutely not” comment about coordination or agreement
between Renfroe and State Farm attorney’s on this or any other litigation.

Page 89- She denies any knowledge other than what the Rigsby’s said in their
depos about the State Farm documents the Rigsbys refer to

Page 92- Hawley wants to know if Renfroe has lost any adjusters due to Rigsby
disclosures or due to the 20/20 show and Renfroe responds she doesn’t know ( my
own guess here is it would be hard to tell due to lack of storms since these
revelations and whistleblower case have been going on)

Page 93- remember the recent decision on the OK case involving SF and Renfroe?
Jana Renfroe indicates they had not even been following that case and were
surprised about the decision and also what the issues were on that case she
indicates were clothing issues with independents wearing SF clothes and
performance evaluation issues

Page 94- Very interesting closing answer by Jana Renfroe when asked if she
believe Cori and Kerri Rigsby and she answered “she didn’t know what to believe”

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If I later find Gene Renfroe’s deposition posted or any of the depositions of
other Renfroe managers I’ll post them.

I hope others reading this learn as much as we did reading through this. Many assumptions I personally had such as State Farm and Renfroe possibly coordinating efforts, the when and where the Renfroe’s learned of the Rigsby’s actions, and the fact that the Renfroe’s didn’t know much more than the rest of the adjusting community about this whole whistleblower case until watching 20/20 sure were a surprise to read.

The outcome of these cases remains a mystery and a soap opera those in the claims community can’t help but follow since it is so very unusual for our industry to have such crazy actions going on. Hopefully, posting of depositions such as this will open many eyes that think the only thing to adjusting is a simple 3 day class. An adjuster and adjusting firm have serious problems and responsibilities to properly document claim files, thoroughly handle investigations, and properly document personnel deployments as well as very serious responsibilities to properly train those adjusters deployed to fulfill claim obligations to the policyholders who have paid dearly for the right to insurance protection during major disasters.

Update 3/22/09 – Since Scruggs went to prison, the Scruggs site was pulled down so the links that were in this post no longer work. I’ll see if Slabbed has a link to the deposition on their site.

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Just when you thought the Rigsby/ EA Renfroe Whistleblower case/Scruggs issues couldn’t get worse!

December 14, 2007

Just when we thought we’d heard it all after the indictment of Scruggs over alleged bribery, today we now come across a new lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct and inappropriate use of the Rigsby documents by another partner in the Katrina Scruggs group according to this newest post by David Rossmiller of the Insurance Coverage blog found here. Make sure you read the full complaint  found here for all of the details and alleged misuse of the documents through a key firm in the Katrina Scruggs group firm, Nutt and McAlister according to this Insurance Coverage blog entry. Here is also the link Rossmiller provided in his blog with the complaint exhibits found here. (See Exhibit C which was Judge Acker’s order on the Rigsby documents).

David Rossmiller has been providing thorough updates on the Scruggs indictment and related issues so there is no need to report seperately on them here but you’ll find them fascinating and covered in great detail in his blogs beginning with the indictiment. If you don’t already know his blog address by heart, you’ll find all the “Scruggs Nation” blogs at  David Rossmiller’s Insurance Coverage Law Blog.

Other blogs of interest also providing excellent updates on the Scruggs/Katrina issues include:

www.overlawyered.com and here are a few samples of their updates found here and here.

Here’s a good summary of the players and issues involved as well by the NY Times found here.

Another good detailed source of information providing updates on the Scruggs issue is www.legalnewsonline.com and you’ll find the link to all of their Scruggs postings by clicking here.

Another is www.yallpolitics.com and here is just one of many blog updates notifying us of the selection of a judge in the Northern Florida district who will now hear the contempt case after Alabama judges recused themselves found by clicking here.

Rossmiller and others such as Legalnewsonline.com are posting information about how this ties in to AG Jim Hood and ramifications on the pending Katrina litigation against State Farm. Thus, of interest today was this posting about Jim Hood’s redesign of his website which formerly itemized their allegations against the carrier. Very interesting seeing what the redesign is all about! The article on that issue  was also posted today by the www.legalnewsonline blog found by clicking here. This made me wonder what’s become of the Katrina Scruggs group website Scruggs was running with constant updates including the “mug shot” of Lecky King, a claim management employee with State Farm over her alleged pleading the 5th during a deposition involving communications with engineer firms involved on some of the Katrina cases. I couldn’t find that photo anywhere on the site today but things have moved around quite a bit. I’m glad for her if they finally took that dern photo down. I found this copy(click here) sent out by the remaining partners of the Katrina Law group posted at the beginning of December about Scruggs withdrawal from the group while the indictment allegations are being sorted out (and it lists Nutt & McAlister as one of the 3 remaining group partners).

If you missed our 3 blogs on the Scruggs/EA Renfroe/Rigsby ongoing cases, here is a link to my earlier blogs which provide more specifics about the claim documents and allegations. You’ll find links to all previous blogs here on the subject by clicking on this link here.

We’ll all be watching to see how the indictment develops, what ramifications this will all have on the claim suit files, Hood’s action against the carriers, and for more information about the reason for Trent Lott’s resignation after his recent notice he will be retiring. I think there is still much more to be learned in the coming weeks and months ahead…..stay tuned!

I cannot imagine the claim managers having to report on these pending cases with every new twist and turn and reevaluation of their cases. This has got to be creating a tremendous burden on the claims industry. I’ve never witnessed anything like it in 30 years in the claims business. Remember when the worst press a claim department dreaded was a dissatisfied policyholder spray painting derogatory comments on their home or roof after a storm? That’s kids play after all of these soap opera events which have happened in the aftermath of Katrina. Not a good time to be in the claims business! Not only are staff managers and adjusters bearing the burden of this nightmare (slash soap opera) but the public is bearing the brunt of the litigation expenses by way of increased premiums and reduced possibility of carriers as more and more carriers reduce policies in force in coastal communities. When will this soap opera ever end so claims folks can get back to doing what they do best…..settling claims according to the terms and conditions of the policies? I’ll be waiting for updated blogs by David Rossmiller  and others that explain how these lawyers think this indictment, the retirement of Lott, the Hood cases,etc will end up resolving specific to claim files and suits pending. So far from what I’m reading in this article on the Clarion Ledger article found here, Lott doesn’t think he’ll be able to push through legislation he’d previously proposed before his departure.

We’ll post additional new decisions on the contempt case and other related issues as they develop.


New Developments in the EA Renfroe Rigsby Scruggs Whistleblower case

October 15, 2007

Here is a good update on the EA Renfroe, Rigsby sister, Scruggs case provided on the Insurance Coverage Blog providing an update of new details revealed in the case.

www.insurancecoverageblog.com/archives/industry-developments-prosecutors-court-filing-scruggs-defied-injunction-for-monetary-gain-hood-helped.html

We had previously posted several blogs on this whistleblower case. If you missed them, you will find the links to them in our blog archives :

here, here, and here

I’ll post additional news on this update with any document links as I locate it this week as the majority of us in the property claim industry are following this very important case.

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Update 10/16:

Here is the pdf for the reply filed by the special prosecutors against Scruggs that was filed:

http://www.legalnewsline.com/content/img/f202583/alabama.pdf

And here’s a good new article on the updates:

http://www.legalnewsline.com/news/202585-feds-scruggs-ag-hood-worked-closely-on-whistleblower-controversy

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2nd update 10/16/07- Here’s another great blog today with links to documents and more info on these new developments:

http://www.insurancecoverageblog.com/archives/industry-developments-more-on-usa-v-scruggs.html


Scruggs Contempt case developments- Update ( 3 of 3 blogs on this subject)

August 24, 2007

We were able to obtain a copy of the Scrugg’s attorney’s response filed on the Contempt charges from the WSJ blog entry of 8/23/07  found here. Here is a link to the court document responding to the Contempt charges asking for dismissal.

It’s interesting to note if you read my earlier two blog entries here and here on the contempt case and the history of the whistleblower case that this response provides additional information. The other documents linked to in my earlier blogs indicates that they said the Rigsby whistleblowers first became involved with the documents in documents to Scruggs in  April 2006. However, this court response says they first contacted Scruggs in February of 2006 with a few engineer reports and the now forever infamous sticky note I wrote about in this blog. ( It just won’t go away!) then again in April 2006. Also, interesting to note in this court document, they state that there would not be charges filed against the Rigsby’s unlike the news article posted in our earlier blog this week that said there was still a possibility. Other things to note of interest in this recent filing by Scruggs attorney requesting dismissal of the charges is information that the appointed prosecutors may have a conflict handling such a case as they are opposing counsel on some railroad cases that Scruggs is also involved in.  It will be interesting to see how this case develops.

National Underwriter has also just put out this breaking news story on the Keker( attorney out of San Francisco who is representing Scruggs on the alleged criminal charge) action with a quote from insurance trade group PCI (Property Casualty Insurers Assn of America) who is pleased that this action is being taken. They also hope that the media will help get this information out so we are hoping you will read these comments and let others in the adjusting community know about these issues. We will continue to keep  you advised on any major developments.

6pm CST update 8/24/07- 

***Here is a late breaking announcement made on the Insurance Coverage blog with a judge’s decision on the Rigsby issues. Read it here .

*Update 9/1/07- Interesting updates on the Scruggs case in this 8/31/07  WSJ blog


Whistleblower cases and your E and O coverage- part 2

August 23, 2007

I have updated the 8/22/07 blog today to include information on the 2nd whistleblower RICO case, more info on the Scruggs whistleblower case, as well as to discuss adjusters need for E and O coverage. You can view that entire blog here:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/08/22/special-prosecutors-file-criminal-contempt-charges-on-ea-renfroerigsby-whisteblower-case/

Here are two more articles to read with Scrugg’s attorney commenting and a WSJ update from yesterday on the case:

Here are the first comments I’ve seen published from an attorney representing Scruggs on this:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118780916398705534.html?mod=sphere_wd

Here is also the WSJ Law Blog entry from yesterday on the case:

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2007/08/22/dickie-scruggs-charged-with-criminal-contempt/

See you tomorrow!

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Well- nothing is simple on these cases. As soon as I thought I’d finished reporting on the whistleblower cases, the next item reviewed is this August 23rd blog alleging more allegations against carriers:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4251394.stm

This was linked to in this AM in the morning blog entry:

http://aminthemorning.blogspot.com/2007/08/insurers-being-sued-over-katrina.html

Here is a June news article  on the Hood  breach of contract suit and a NU news article from May in case you aren’t familiar with that action involving the Katrina cases:

http://sev.prnewswire.com/insurance/20070615/DCF01515062007-1.html

http://www.propertyandcasualtyinsurancenews.com/cms/nupc/Breaking%20News/2007/05/02-HOOD-dh

Here is an August 2007 Clarion news article about the carrier attempting to dismiss the suit:

http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070810/NEWS/708100370/1001/news

I hope all of you  are trying to objectively understand what is going on with these cases. Take the time to go directly to the carrier websites and look at their news and press releases for their “direct from the source” news releases. You’ll find  quite interesting information in what appears to be a war of the press releases by all parties involved but I prefer to think of it as the carriers trying to educate the public about many misconceptions found in the press. I’m glad to see them posting information from their perspective when years ago they remained silent on these issues on their websites.

Off to work now..no time to specially link those articles vs just posting them as is!


Special Prosecutors file Criminal Contempt Charges on EA Renfroe/Rigsby Whisteblower Case

August 22, 2007

We will expand on this post later today but here are links to  yesterday’s breaking news stories on the EA Renfroe Adjusting firm/ Rigsby sister whistleblower case. The appointed Special Prosecutors in the case filed criminal contempt charges against Scruggs 8/21/07:

Here is a link to the AP Press news article: click here

Here is David Rossmillers’s Law Blog on the news: click here (see 8/22/07 entry)

Here is an August 15th Birmingham news story that the Rigsby sisters may also still face prosecution: click here

If you aren’t up to date on the recent appointments of the Special Prosecutors, here is a great Findlaw summary of this from August 3rd: click here

Here was the Judge’s order naming them: click here

Here is a transcript of the Contempt hearing  March 2007 with Judge Acker: click here

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While this case is coming back to the front line news again, this is a good time to remind you of discovery and activity log notes. If you missed it, view this blog on the infamous sticky note arising through many articles and court documents on this whisteblower case. Click here.

I will be updating this with more news on the issue later today. In the meantime, Fox news is reporting that TS Felix should be named in the next few days and I’ll post the first news stories on that shortly along with updates on the Midwest flooding claim stats.

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Update on this topic 8/23/07:

Some of the first news reports are coming in on the announcements and here’s one of the most detailed  from this WSJ report providing comments from Scrugg’s attorney indicating they are filing to have the charges dismissed. Click here. Here is also Peter Lattman’s WSJ law blog of  8/22/07 Click here.

Back to some of the more important news stories and documents posted over the past year on this topic(sorry I didn’t get back to this yesterday!) here is a list of items adjusters may wish to read to familarize themselves with the history on this case:

Jan 07 Claims Journal article summarizing the grand jury probe: here

2007 AL spring article on the initial contempt hearing: here

Sun Herald article explaining Rigsby allegations, carriers involved, and info on unsealing the court case: here . Note that the Sun Herald has run numerous stories on the case but the links we have show many of those articles are no longer available. Several can still be found on their site by going to search in their archives.

Tort blog about the unsealing of the documents: here

One of the most informative documents on allegations in this First Amended Complaint on this False Claim Act document. This document states that the Rigsby’s reported this case in 4/06 to the US Attorney then gathered the documents in 6/06 with the Rigsby’s then notifying the carrier after the “dump weekend” as it’s referred to in other documents. This document says they then left for vacation and upon return to the carrier’s office were “escorted out of the bldg” (gee- what did they expect!). It goes on to say in 9/06 that Renfroe initiated suit to return the documents. There is much info in this document to again include a copy of that infamous sticky note (drives me nuts..it’s every where on the net and an excellent example of why an adjuster should NEVER use anything other than the appropriate activity log to document file activities..adjuster 101 stuff!). This report also discusses Haag, the carriers, and the employees  alleged to have shifted damages to wind, Xact Total, and much more. If you don’t read anything else, read this whistleblower’s summary of the activities they allege took place. Here.

Here’s a still current link to the Sun Herald summary of the case when it was unsealed..here

Scruggs group post of the exhibit on the EA Renfroe Code of Conduct form here

You might want to follow this current Clarion Ledger new poll -the results are to be published 8/24 asking if the whistleblowers should be prosecuted..thus far today it is showing only 2% say yes and 87% say no..here

Here’s the Scruggs June 07 Press release on the RICO case they filed on these allegations: here

Here is the RICO complaint filed 6/20/07 (101 pages of interesting reading) here

If you are not aware of it- here is a seperate whistleblower case we are also following making similar allegations of movement of damages to NFIP vs the wind carrier . Here is an article from a NOLA Times Picayne blog summarizing this 2nd whistleblower case: here

Thanks to this posting on the Insurance Coverage blog- here is the Complaint on the unsealed second whistleblower case: here

This complaint document names the names of many carrier employees/independents? Make sure to view the treble damages requests beginning at approximately page 88 here. We’ll try to get to a blog entry discussing errors and omissions coverage and things an adjuster needs to do for coverage to protect themselves against such a complaint as many new adjusters are not aware of their need for insurance coverage protection.

This is a large document at 242 pages which are the exhibit documents Scruggs group had posted. Click here. All adjusters should read this document to see what happens during discovery with your letters and file documents. They can become part of suit documents as they did on this case. This document discusses the names on many different cases involved in the allegations and provides exhibits of many carrier documents. Trainees who don’t know what correspondence on various issues should look like could learn alot from viewing this entire document to learn about coverage denial letters, reservation of rights letters, statements of loss,etc.

Another interesting WSJ blog from 6-21-07 by Peter Lattman “The Thrilla in Pascagoula”. This blog gives alot of details of further actions filed trying to have Scruggs removed from the case. Here

Here’s a good www.nola.com article on the 2nd whistleblower case: here

Here’s a Mobile Press Register article quoting Pilot Adjusting Co’s attorney: here

Here is a National Underwriter story summarizing the case: here

This National Underwriter article lists all the names of the adjusting firms and parties alleged to have shifted damages to flood (the whistleblower names have still not been revealed that I am aware of): here

This article posted again here to make a point…this explains what the whistleblowers stand to gain by making such allegations: here

Congressman Gene Taylor’s posted information on alleged wrong doing by carrier’s: here

Here is a summary 7/6/07 in the Bloomberg news on the 2nd whistleblower case: here. Note the quotes by various carriers commenting on the case..I believe this might be same link but here it is if not: here

Here is another article 7/9/07 saying the judge withdrew request for federal intervention on the whistleblower case: here

Here are 3 things you should read on this Insurance Coverage blog entries/attachments on the case here, here , and here on the Judge withdrawing the request. These documents include Homeland Security reports and other important documents you need to read to learn where these cases are going.

Here is another important document by the above blog which is a Branch consultants document on the 2nd whistleblower case. Here Note the alleged 4 whistleblowers are still not named in this document. I’m curious if these folks are still out adjusting claims?

While trying to understand all of these court documents and issues mentioned in these cases, I did some research on the False Claims Act and was interested to learn that the Acts vary by state. Some states allow only for False Claims act cases on health claim issues. Here is  state by state information found at www.phillipsandcohen.com website located while researching these acts:

Here is the one with the state links: here

And this one provides excellent information on the False Claim Act in general: here

So where is this all going? I can’t pretend to know. We’d love to have an attorney interpret all of this for us if we have any volunteers but here are some things you may find very interesting. First of all- while doing this research, I found this report on the web which PRE DATES KATRINA by the GAO office in April 2005 in testimony to the house. Make sure to make note of the number of flood certified adjusters at less than 5,000(now can you imagine what this means for all the current Midwest flooding today?). Here it is. Note this report also says that only 4% of flood files were reinspected. So let’s move forward to the GAO testimony over 2 years later in this June 2007 Testimony about the inability of FEMA to assess the wind damages vs flood damages found:  here  Combine these 2 GAO reports with a review of the September 2005 directive by Fema to WYO(Write your own) carriers with expedited instructions on handling flood claims found : here and the single adjuster concept for flood claim handling found in this FEMA procedures document: here sure makes you wonder if the right hand knows what the left hand is doing. Is there any wonder there is so much confusion?

If you missed our blog on more current info on the fee issues on the wind vs water, take some time to read this earlier blog on Adjuster Fees in the news found: here

I am posting all of this information in the hope that adjusters will learn to understand how very important proper documentation is in their claim files. All of these suits, news articles, congressional hearings,etc drive home the very point that your file is subject to discovery and much discussion in press articles.

You cannot take this lightly and it is of utmost importance in today’s environment that you properly protect yourself with E and O coverage and other coverage  you may need. Many adjusters are leaving their E and O needs to the adjusting firm but those I’ve asked have never even considered asking the adjusting firm for a copy of the E and O policy which is alleged to protect them. Do you know what coverage you have? What are the E and O limits that protect you? What are the policy terms? Who is the carrier and the policy number? Is there a deductible? Does the E and O policy protect you if you are one of the adjusters named in one of these suits? Does the E and O policy provide defense costs for you? We’ve had an adjuster advise us this past year that his personal attorney fees to defend an allegation were not covered and over 40K over a 2 year period. I am not an  E and O expert but you need to talk to your adjusting firms to determine how you will be protected BEFORE this happens to you and get the answers to these important questions whether you are providing your own E and O or they are and deducting it from your fee bill payments.

This CNN Money article says a January 31, 2008 deadline has been set on the whistleblower case: here so I imagine that there is much more to learn about these cases in the next weeks and months ahead.

Here is a link to info on E and O posted on the National Association of Catastrophe Adjusters website you might want to look into if you are not presently covered: here There is also good info here on health coverage. Speaking of that..I’ll end this long blog entry directing you back to this important blog entry about FL having open enrollment for health insurance benefits for self employed and independent contractors during the month of August 2007 so you don’t miss the deadline to apply should you also need this important coverage: here

See you tomorrow!