A Changing Lott

May 25, 2007

“Are you kidding me?” says Senator Trent Lott, a Mississippi Republican, when asked why he’s so critical of insurance companies.Lott, 65, launches into a critique of the industry, peppering it with words such as “arrogant” and “mean- spirited,” statistics about company profits and executive pay and angry questions about why its lobbyists are fighting a clutch of bills he is pushing — including one that would strip companies such as State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. and Allstate Corp. of their 62-year-old exemption from federal antitrust laws.

The Senate’s No. 2 Republican has become the industry’s No. 1 critic in Congress ever since he lost a house to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. While Lott recently settled with his insurer, State Farm, after a year-long court battle, he is continuing the fight in the Senate. His experience, the senator says, has convinced him that an industry he defended his entire career is in need of reform.

“I’m like a woman scorned,” Lott says. “I’m prepared to continue to kick their fanny until the last day I’m alive on this Earth because they have mistreated too many people.”

 Lott, `Scorned’ After Katrina, Targets State Farm, Allstate

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