Hey, how’s it going?
Weather’s pretty warm for a January, huh? Yeah, I was able to leave all the really cold weather clothes back at the hotel and…okay, first, allow me to introduce myself. Well, kind of introduce myself…
I work for a rather unpopular agency down in the Gulf Coast. Let’s call it an insurance company and yeah, turns out we’re about as good at our jobs, and as responsible as most insurance companies you’ve probably already dealt with…if you don’t know what I mean, just wait until something you love is destroyed, something you’ve insured, and give us a call. You’ll then quickly understand my point.
Our response to your insured loss will sound something like this:
“I try to explain to people that if we’ve made a mistake, we’ll review it as part of the process, we’ll fix it, and we’ll do our best to try and make people less frustrated with the status of their claim,” Feinberg said, “I can’t do more than that.”
And that gets me to my main point…you know those meetings, the ones that Ken Feinberg has been hosting all around the Gulf Coast the past couple of weeks? Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but those meetings were never about you. I mean, in some ways, yes, you were invited. You were given the chance to ask questions, for an hour anyways and you got an answer to your question…
Yeah, an answer like this:
“I’ve given hundreds of millions of dollars to the seafood industry. I may have made some mistakes, but I’m trying to get as much money to people who work in the seafood industry as possible.”
But when Feinberg said that, it wasn’t really your question he was answering.
He was answering the questions asked by the press.
He was answering the questions asked by the Court of Public Opinion.
And when I say public opinion, I mean the public opinion of every state in the union except Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. He already knows he’s lost you guys, that you’re turning on him, that you really don’t buy the things he says anymore, so he’s working the other 46 states hard. It’s simple math, really. Forty-six versus four.
Here’s another example of something he said at one of those meetings: “In five months we’ve paid out more than $3 billion. A good majority of the claimants have been treated fairly.”
See how that works?
He makes angry claimants look like whiners, even while he admits a mistake. He ain’t a high earning lawyer for nothing. To most people, three billion dollars is an amount of money they can’t really comprehend on any sort of realistic level, except to understand it’s a lot of money, far more than anything they’ll ever see. He then says this kind of money was paid out, by him and given to the “good majority” of people, who were “treated fairly.” Well, “good majority” sounds pretty good, sure, but when you look a bit closer a majority is only 51%. So what’s a “good” majority? Maybe 70%. Hell, let’s give him 75%. Okay, now consider that there were well over 400,000 claimants. So he basically says that in five months he and the GCCF treated 300,000 people “fairly,” but they really fucked over the other 100,000 people.
Let’s say you work on an assembly line at a Ford plant, and you do a good job on three of every four cars, and in a day you work on 40 cars. This means that you didn’t really bother with ten cars per day, forgetting the steering wheel, the ball joint, a series of screws that keeps the oil from flooding the engine.
Think you’d keep your job?
Me neither, but Feinberg not only thinks he should keep his job, he thinks people should cut him some slack, and praise him for the hard job he is undertaking.
Yeah, now you’re getting it.
He’s like that shitty insurance guy all over again, the one that says your house was damaged by flooding, not wind, despite the fact the wind pushed the water that broke the levees that flooded your home.
Now, I don’t blame you for thinking those meetings were for you, I mean, that’s what he said…but really, he didn’t come down there for input from you so he could change the system to work better, for you. He came down there to answer questions about your three options, to answer questions about time lines, to promise all of you that soon, any day now, really this time, he’s gonna be more transparent in the claims process. He came down there to take your abuse, to have the press watch the scene and see how 150, or 300, or 1000 people in a gymnasium were going to treat him shitty, gang up on him, so he then could do a press interview, shrug and say he’s doing the best he can.
Not a bad strategy, like I said, there’s a reason he makes the big bucks.
But how about this, the next time Feinberg holds a meeting, everybody in your community gets together and nominates one person.
And while you have all thousand people showing up outside the gymnasium to stand silent or calmly protest, only that “one person” actually goes inside for the meeting, and let his or her question take fifty minutes as he or she recites the complaints and problems of the entire community, one by one. That way, Feinberg doesn’t get to make you all look like the bully and then the press, know who they’re going to want to talk to when that meeting ends?
They’re going to want to talk to that one guy, and that one guy is going to be able to make Feinberg look like a completely out of touch asshole.
Will it change anything about the claims process?
Probably not, but it’ll sure make Feinberg look stupid, and at least that will be fun because if there’s a guy who needs to look stupid in front of the entire country, yeah, he’d be the one, he and the rest of his insurance ilk…it’s a thought. Anyways, I just felt I should send a letter, let you know what I think about these meetings and their true intent, kinda give you all a heads up, so to speak, not that many of you haven’t already figured this out. Let’s just say I was trying to help collect any of the stragglers…
Okay then, well, be well everybody, stay strong within your community, your family…look out for each other…
Do your best.
With respect and truth,
Your Anonymous Friend.