Tuesday, 20 December 2011 22:14

Louisiana Business: Irvin Mayfield, New Orleans Hornets, Blue Cross, Citizens Insurance

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 louisianaThe New Orleans Hornets, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Irvin Mayfield and the J.W. Mariott are jazzed up over what it calls the “Inspired to Play” partnership which will help promote New Orleans music while enhancing the game night experience for all Hornets fans.

 Starting with the team’s preseason game against the Memphis Grizzlies on December 21, the Hornets will feature a house band featuring a rotating core of local music artists who will play throughout each game on a dedicated courtside stage known as the   “Irvin Mayfield’s I Club Stage”. Fans will also see pre-recorded messages and performances by local artists on the Arena’s video screens during the games. 


The official start of “Inspired to Play” will take place at the opening game against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, December 28, and will feature a special introduction from Grammy Award-winning trumpeter and Artistic Director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO), Irvin Mayfield. After performing the national anthem, Mayfield will introduce the band to kickoff player introductions with an original Hornets “theme song” written especially by him for The Hornets. The band will also perform during the halftime show that same evening.

"It continues to be our goal to build a team that our city can be proud of and that includes providing the best game entertainment in the NBA,” said Hornets President Hugh Weber. “What better way to accomplish that goal than utilize the talents of world-class artists right here in our community? We are excited to celebrate each game night with the artistic and cultural richness that makes this one of the most livable and loveable cities in the world." 

NOJO is recruiting New Orleans musicians (musicians must be from New Orleans or currently living here) to create a database of 300 songs (existing and original) that will be used for in-arena music during the Hornets games and even local radio and TV broadcasts. 

“Music is the #1 brand of New Orleans; our culture fosters the environment that will keep such a great NBA team here,” said Mayfield. “Our goal is to enhance the musical experience at Hornets games by investing in the musicians - both young and experienced - who make this city great." 

After each Hornets home game, fans will also receive complimentary entry into Irvin Mayfield’s I Club with the presentation of their game ticket from that evening. The I Club is located inside the JW Marriott® New Orleans at 614 Canal Street. It is open nightly, Wednesday through Saturday, with live music starting at 8:00 p.m.  

Musicians interested in participating, should contact Stephanie Mayne, Director of Programming at NOJO at 504-862-3531 or [email protected]


The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra is a performing-arts organization whose goal is to strengthen the business of Jazz through performances, touring, recordings, education and media platforms. For more information, please visit www.TheNOJO.com.


Irvin Mayfield’s I Club is an upscale, luxurious destination that delivers true New Orleans music and a sophisticated night on the town for discerning guests. Located in the former Henri restaurant, the bi-level music venue attracts a diverse mix of The Accomplished, both locals and visitors, from the worlds of business, art, politics, media, fashion, sports and celebrity For more information call Irvin Mayfield’s I Club at (504)-527-6712 or visit www.iclubneworleans.com.

Holy Judgment

On last Friday, December 16, the Louisiana Supreme Court issued a judgment that reinstated the $92,685,000 judgment, plus an estimated $11,007,046 in interest, in the class action law suit Oubre vs. Louisiana Citizens.  The Supreme Court’s 4‐3 opinion says 24th Judicial District Court Judge Henry Sullivan ruled correctly in 2009 that Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation failed to begin adjusting some 18,000 claims in a timely fashion after Hurricane Katrina.

The penalties involved are not for insufficient claim payment, but rather as a penalty for not initiating claim adjustment within 30 days from the most horrific storm to strike the state.  Citizens did send out advance Additional Living Expense checks to its policyholders within 30 days to help them offset the expenses of evacuation, or finding other living accommodations, yet the court viewed this as not being enough to satisfy the requirement.

“Ultimately, all property insurance policyholders in Louisiana will bear the cost of these class action lawsuits if Citizens has to implement an assessment to pay them or not,” Commissioner Donelon said.

Citizens currently has $140 million cash on hand. In addition, Citizens has $70 million in excess assessments that can be used to offset the 2005 plan year deficit if approved by the board and access to a $50 million line of credit that was negotiated to fill any cash shortfalls from a major storm.

Expenses in Citizens’ 2012 budget include $70 million in reinsurance premiums, $20 million in operating expenses and $6.5 million in service provider fees.

Because Citizens is domiciled in Louisiana and only writes insurance in Louisiana, they did not have access to the Federal Court system in New Orleans which has rejected the notion of class actions for these penalties resulting from failure to comply with the same statutory time limits to adjust claims from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The number of claimants currently is 18,573 but there is potential for much more.

There is another pending class action lawsuit in Orleans Parish titled Orrill vs. Louisiana Citizens of similar nature. Citizens attempted to settle that lawsuit for $35 million and the money was placed in the registry of the court.  The 4th Circuit ruled the settlement inadequate and the settlement reversed and the monies returned to Citizens.  Last settlement demand from plaintiff attorneys was for $50 million.

(Louisiana Insurance Commission press release) 

Worker’s Compensation

Workers’ compensation costs per claim for Louisiana grew at a double-digit rate in recent years, the fastest growth among all states in a new study by Cambridge, Mass.-based Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI).

The 16-state study, CompScope™ Benchmarks for Louisiana, 12th Edition, reported that costs per claim rose 11 percent per year from 2007 to 2009 with increases involved in all key cost components – medical, indemnity (payments for lost wages), and expenses per claim.

WCRI speculated that this rapid growth may reflect some impact from the recession, although it noted that the recession’s effects appear to have been less severe in Louisiana than in other states in part due to the post-Hurricane Katrina recovery.

The study said that indemnity benefits per claim rose nearly 11 percent per year in Louisiana during the period, a faster growth rate than in other study states during these observable recession years. 

The main driver in the growth of indemnity benefits per claim was an increase in the average duration of temporary disability of nearly two weeks.

Medical payments per claim also grew faster in Louisiana during the period than in other study states -- 26 percent compared to about 16 percent in the typical study state.  These costs were among the highest of the 16 study states, 14 percent higher than typical. 

The study noted that state officials and system stakeholders view medical treatment guidelines enacted in 2009 as a step toward possibly improving medical care for workers and reducing costs to employers and insurers.

Another factor in the higher medical payments per claim is that Louisiana has the highest prescription payments per claim.

Among other key findings, benefit delivery expenses per claim in the state were among the highest of the states studied, especially defenses attorney payments.  Louisiana also had higher-than-typical average medical cost containment expenses and medical-legal expenses.

The Cambridge-based WCRI is recognized as a leader in providing high-quality, objective information about public policy issues involving workers' compensation systems. 

Click here to purchase this study.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation has set a Jan. 13 deadline for organizations and communities to submit letters of intent to apply for up to $10 million in matching grant funds to fight obesity.

The foundation and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, its partner in the Challenge for a Healthier Louisiana grant program, also are offering potential grant applicants technical assistance workshops and a web-based Meetup option to help them find each other and work together.

The Pennington Center is noted for its work to address childhood obesity and recognized as the foremost academic nutritional research center in the world. It is administering the Blue Cross Foundation grant program, which will offer matching funding to non-profit organizations for projects that promote healthy eating, active living and environmental change.

“The Blue Cross Foundation has committed $10 million to preventing obesity because it is a major public health concern that diminishes the quality of lives of Louisianians and drives up healthcare costs,” said Foundation President Peggy Scott. “We want to support and work with local non-profit organizations that have innovative ideas to promote healthy living in their communities.”

The foundation and Pennington held eight introductory workshops across Louisiana this fall to promote the challenge grant program. Nearly 275 people, representing almost 175 unique organizations, attended the workshops. A second round of technical assistance workshops will begin in January 2012 in cities most represented in the letters of intent.

“We were overwhelmed by the attendance at the introductory workshops, which represented a broad range of organizations that work with children and families in Louisiana. In many cases, there were standing-room-only crowds,” said Dr. Peter Katzmarzyk, associate executive director for population science at the Pennington Center. “That keen interest shows there was a real need for the challenge grant program. We look forward to receiving letters of intent to see the ideas that people have come up with.”

Challenge for a Healthier Louisiana aims to improve statistics like the ones released earlier this year by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:

  • The percentage of adults in Louisiana who are obese is 31.6%. That’s the fifth highest rate in the country.
    Nearly 21% of children are obese—the fourth highest rate in the country.
    Since 1995, Louisiana has been the eighth fastest-growing state in terms of obesity. To find out about the activities of local Challenge for a Healthier Louisiana Meetups, go to www.meetup.com/challenge/. A video introduction to the program, giving answers to frequently asked questions, is also available at www.OurHomeLouisiana.org.

    The Blue Cross Foundation will award grants ranging from $250,000 to $1 million. Applicants must provide at least a one-to-one match in funding, which may come from various sources. Up to half of the matching funds may be in kind. The final applications are due April 30, 2012. Those interested can find detailed information about the grant requirements and application timeline at www.OurHomeLouisiana.org
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