Bribed Regulators Deceiving FBI Roil U.S. Insurance Customers

Former Mississippi Insurance Commissioner George Dale wasn’t charged with corruption: Voters didn’t re-elect him after 32 years in office in 2007 because they were upset that he sided with insurers after Hurricane Katrina.

Hundreds of people filed complaints with Dale’s office in 2005, saying their insurers didn’t pay enough to rebuild homes destroyed by the storm that year, and then sued companies after getting no help from the state’s Insurance Department.

Dale, who had been the longest-serving industry regulator in the U.S., says he was unfairly criticized because Katrina was such a huge natural disaster.

“The general public would not be satisfied unless the commissioner of insurance was given czar-like responsibility,” he says.

Industry Boosted Campaign

Dale raised about one-third, or $167,600, of $534,168 in campaign contributions for his 2006 re-election effort from the insurance industry, according to campaign finance disclosures.

“I was criticized for taking money from those I regulate, which basically is the only place you’re going to get money to run for this office,” he says.

The former commissioner became close to the insurance industry and saw their side of it, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood says.

“The insurance companies have grown so strong that they are invincible to regulation, ” Hood says.