Smart Talk Dec. 8 

Car insurance: one-way street?

Tom Thrash, the Little Rock trial lawyer who has made something of a career of pestering the insurance industry, has a question. He’s filed a class action lawsuit in Union County that says insurance companies — which are quick to raise your car insurance rates when you get a ticket or get in a wreck — don’t lower them on renewals three years after the last reported incident.

What has Thrash perturbed additionally is this. State Insurance Commissioner Julia Benafield Bowman has filed an affidavit in the case, in support of the defendant insurance company. Her affidavit says rate-making is solely the job of her agency and that Thrash had never complained to HER about any ratemaking “alleged to be inconsistent with its regulatory filings.”

Says Thrash: “This is simply a clear indication that our Arkansas insurance commissioner works for the insurance companies and not the consumer.”

Just because Huckabee said it …

The following quote is from an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette article Aug. 24 about Gov. Mike Huckabee’s trip to New Hampshire to dip a toe into the presidential race with several appearances before Republican groups. The quote:

“Huckabee said ‘no tax dollars’ are being used for the New Hampshire trip. He said some of the expenses likely will be shouldered by the Healthy America Political Action Committee, which he formed in July.”

Reporting by the Arkansas Times has shown that 1) the State Police twin-engine aircraft and its taxpayer-financed pilot were dispatched to New Hampshire to fly Huckabee on to Georgia for a governors’ meeting in August, rather than having Huckabee fly commercial to the meeting in Greensboro, Ga., and 2) Huckabee has not reimbursed the state for that or any of his numerous other jaunts in the twin-engine King Air. It costs thousands of dollars in fuel, maintenance, plane depreciation and staff time each time it takes to the sky. Note: When other state agencies use the plane, they receive a bill and reimburse the State Police for use of the plane. There is no state law that puts the plane at the governor’s disposal for travel, official or otherwise.

Checking in

A reader/Wal-Mart customer from Rogers e-mailed us recently with a question sparked by a phone call she received on her cell business line from a Gallup employee who said he was doing a follow-up survey about her recent visit to the Neighborhood Market in Rogers. When pressed, the caller said Wal-Mart gleaned her name and phone number from a check she wrote — but no financial information, he promised. Aren’t there laws to protect such an invasion of privacy? she wanted to know.

Well, no. It’s perfectly legal for businesses to use their customers’ information for internal marketing purposes, said Matt DeCample, spokesman for the attorney general’s office.

For the record, Wal-Mart spokeswoman Sharon Weber said the company doesn’t take information from checks, but rather once a year asks check-Ah, cash. So simple, so anonymous.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Ethics Commission to review illegal contribution to Leslie Rutledge

    Blue Hog Report says that the Ethics Commission has confirmed it will investigate what appears to be a clear ethics law violation he found in Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's campaign records — a May 21 contribution of $2,700 from the Republican Attorneys General Association eight days before the PAC was registered in the state.
    • Oct 23, 2018
  • Jared Henderson calls on Hutchinson administration to stop 'demeaning' teachers

    Jared Henderson, the Democratic candidate for governor, has blasted the move by Education Commissioner Johnny Key to weaken job protection for certain Little Rock School District teachers. He says it's of a piece with Gov. Asa Hutchinson's "empty rhetoric" about education.
    • Oct 23, 2018
  • Tuesday: News roundup and open line

    Here's the open line. Also today's news and comment.
    • Oct 23, 2018
  • More »

More by Arkansas Times Staff

  • New episode of Rock the Culture podcast: 'Unify Our City'

    Perspective and conversation about the Washington Post exposé on the Little Rock Police Department’s use of no-knock warrants and a political radio ad alleging that black people should vote republican to avoid being lynched again. Guest: Little Rock Mayoral Candidate Frank Scott.
    • Oct 23, 2018
  • New episode of Out in Arkansas: 'T & A Talk'

    Out in Arkansas’s hosts Traci Berry and Angie Bowen talk about all the things...winter rescue, being kind...you know, all the things. Thank you for listening!
    • Oct 19, 2018
  • New episode of Out in Arkansas: 'T & A with Guest Dr. Racher, the Ninja Gyno'

    Out in Arkansas’s hosts Traci Berry and Angie Bowen are joined by Dr. Racher, the ninja Gyno. They talk about all the things that come with transitioning— at any phase of the spectrum and all of those special people in their lives who live through this transition with them.
    • Oct 11, 2018
  • More »

Latest in Smart Talk

  • Better than Texas

    Arkansas's tax system is slightly more friendly to the poorest people, but only slightly.
    • Aug 24, 2011
  • Small-school champions

    Two Arkansas congressmen are among the 14 sponsors of a bill that would "correct" a provision of the federal school-funding formula they say favors large school districts over small districts.
    • Aug 24, 2011
  • Bipartisan race

    The rise of Republicanism in Arkansas has brought a rare two-party race to the state Senate in Southeast Arkansas, traditionally a Democratic stronghold.
    • Aug 24, 2011
  • More »

Most Recent Comments


© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation