Reid Backs Off Comment on Insurer

Posted October 2, 2008 at 2:37pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) backed away from statements that he made Wednesday linking the financial crisis to the potential bankruptcy of an unnamed insurance corporation.

In advocating for the $700 billion economic recovery bill passed by the Senate on Wednesday night, Reid said that an unnamed Democrat had informed his caucus about the impending failure of a national insurance corporation and that it was connected to the collapse of the financial markets.

“One of the individuals in the caucus today talked about a major insurance company — a major insurance company, one with a name that everyone knows — that’s on the verge of going bankrupt. That’s what this is all about,” Reid said Wednesday.

One major insurer, MetLife, released a statement in response. “The statement [Wednesday] by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid does not apply to MetLife. MetLife is financially sound and has high ratings from all of the major insurance ratings agencies. MetLife is fully able to meet all its obligations,” the company said in a statement Thursday.

Thursday afternoon, Reid spokesman Jim Manley said in a statement that Reid’s comments were meant in a general manner.

“Senator Reid is not personally aware of any particular company being on the verge of bankruptcy. He has no special knowledge about nor has he talked to any insurance company officials. Rather, his comments were meant to refer to the conditions in the financial sector generally. He regrets any confusion his comments may have caused,” Manley said.