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Editorial: Citizens Insurance board members need dose of reality

Last Modified: Thursday, November 15, 2012 7:50 PM

Members of the board that oversees the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. need a huge dose of reality.

Clearly, they are out of touch after they voted last week to give the corporation’s chief executive officer, Richard Robert, a $50,000 raise shortly after they had learned Citizens was $56 million in the hole.

State Treasurer John Kennedy wasted no time in calling out the board.

‘‘I’m aghast,’’ he said, ‘‘that the Citizens Insurance board made this decision without letting the public know in advance and in the midst of some of the worst financial circumstances the company has ever faced.’’

Displaying a lack of conscience, board members voted to hike Richard’s annual pay from $240,000 to $290,000 shortly after approving a 45 percent rate increase on the 5,700 commercial customers who are insured by Citizens, the insurer of last resort for businesses and individuals in Louisiana.

Making matters worse, Richard’s salary was not on the agenda and was brought up only after Kennedy and representatives of Kennedy and Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon left the meeting.

Kennedy and Donelon both praised Robertson’s work.

‘‘Our CEO is a good man and has been doing the best he can to keep this company afloat, so this is not a personal criticism of him,’’ said Kennedy. ‘‘It’s just that the timing and circumstances of this vote are horrible in light of the serious financial straits this company is in.’’

Said Donelon: ‘‘Is he deserving, the answer clearly is yes. Is now the right time? The answer I come to there, in collaboration with board members who were not there, is no.’’

Donelon said he wished that the pay raise issue had been on the agenda, but added that he didn’t believe the board was trying to sneak it through.

Nevertheless, Donelon made the right decision when he rejected the pay raise.

He said he will ask the board members to revisit the issue at its next meeting.

Between now and then, we hope that the Citizens Insurance board members come to their senses and vote to table Richard’s pay raise until the corporation becomes much more solvent.

• • •

This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.

Posted By: Billy On: 11/16/2012

Title: Citizens Insurance board members need dose of reality

Are these the same Board Members that allowed such a mess originally? If so, like underware, you eventually need to change them. If they approved a raise, they need to be changed anyway

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