Study Reveals Worst Insurance Companies for Consumers

The American Association for Justice issued a report this Wednesday naming the worst insurance companies for consumers in the US.  According to the report, “the rankings show a distinct pattern of insurance industry greed amongst 10 companies that refuse to pay just claims, employ hardball tactics against policyholders, reward executives with extravagant salaries, and raise premiums while hoarding excessive profits.”

The following companies were selected after a six-month review of information from court documents, SEC records, FBI records, state insurance department investigations/complaints, nationwide news accounts and testimony of former insurance agents.  Surprisingly, the companies in the “top five” are well-known and pretty popular choices among American consumers:

1. ALLSTATE – CEO, Thomas Wilson; 2007 compensation, $10.7 million; 2007 profits, $4.6 billion; assets: $156.4 billion. “According to investigations and documents Allstate was forced to make public, the company systematically placed profits over its own policyholders… The amount Allstate paid in claims dropped from 79 percent of its premium income in 1996 to just 58 percent 10 years later. In auto claims, payouts dropped from 63 percent to just 47 percent.

2. UNUM – CEO, Thomas Watjen; 2007 compensation, $7.3 million; 2007 profits, $679 million; assets, $52.4 billion. “Unum, one of the nation’s leading disability insurers, has long had a reputation for unfairly denying and delaying claims..”

3. AIG – CEO, Robert Willumstad; 2007 compensation for former CEO, 14.3 million; 2007 profits: $6.2 billion; assets, $1.06 trillion; “AIG executives have also come under fire for opportunistically seeking price increases during catastrophes. Now the company has been labeled ‘the new Enron’ because of charges of multibillion-dollar corporate fraud.”

4. STATE FARM – CEO: Edward B. Rust Jr.; 2007 compensation, $11.7 million; 2007 profits: $5.5 billion; assets, $181.4 billion. “In many cases, the company has gone to extreme lengths to avoid paying claims, including forging signatures on earthquake waivers after the deadly Northridge earthquake, and altering engineering reports regarding damage after Hurricane Katrina.”

5. CONSECO – CEO, C. James Prieur; 2007 compensation: $2.6 million; 2007 profits: $179.9 million; assets: $33.5 billion. “Conseco sells long-term-care policies, typically to the elderly. Unfortunately, Conseco uses the deteriorating health of its policyholders to its advantage because the company knows if it waits long enough to pay out claims, its customers will die.”

What’s not surprsing, however, is the fact that insurance representatives from the above mentioned companies have wasted no time attacking the trial lawyers behind the study.  A spokesman for Allstate told the press, “We’re not surprised we’re being targeted by the trial and personal injury lawyers because Allstate has always been at the forefront of the fight against insurance fraud and the effort to resist unreasonable demands made by lawyers.”

The sad part is that any person with insurance knows that you pay an arm and a leg for insurance “just incase,” but when an accident happens, its a nightmare to get what you deserve.  It doesn’t take a trial lawyer to point that out– although they are in the best position to make that allegation because they deal with insurance companies on a day to day basis.

I don’t think consumers are buying this argument either. After all, its awfully hard to feel sorry for a CEO (such as Allstate’s Thomas Wilson), who racks in $10.7 million a year, while most people struggle just to pay their bill.

Related Information:

New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney

From The Mayo Clinic: Symptoms of A Pressure Sore

Learning how to spot a bedsore is the best way to help a loved one living in an elder care or rehabilitation facility.  If not treated properly, bedsores can be fatal.  At the very least they are painful and may slow the patient’s recovery process by weeks, if not months.

Furthermore, bedsores are almost always an indication of neglect from the nursing home staff.  That is why you must familiarize your self with the signs and symptoms of a bedsore so you can take immediate action in the case of nursing home abuse.

The Mayo Clinic offers the following description of pressure sores, as well as prominent areas that a bedsore may form:

Bedsores fall into one of four stages based on their severity. The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, a professional organization dedicated to the prevention and treatment of pressure sores, has defined each stage as follows:

  • Stage I. Initially, a pressure sore appears as a persistent area of red skin that may itch or hurt and feel warm and spongy or firm to the touch. In blacks, Hispanics and other people with darker skin, the mark may appear to have a blue or purple cast, or look flaky or ashen. Stage I wounds are superficial and go away shortly after the pressure is relieved.
  • Stage II. At this point, some skin loss has already occurred — either in the epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, in the dermis, the skin’s deeper layer, or in both. The wound is now an open sore that looks like a blister or an abrasion, and the surrounding tissues may show red or purple discoloration. If treated promptly, stage II sores usually heal fairly quickly.
  • Stage III. By the time a pressure ulcer reaches this stage, the damage has extended to the tissue below the skin, creating a deep, crater-like wound.
  • Stage IV. In the most serious and advanced stage, a large-scale loss of skin occurs, along with damage to muscle, bone, and even supporting structures such as tendons and joints. Stage IV wounds are extremely difficult to heal and can lead to lethal infections.

If you use a wheelchair, you’re most likely to develop a pressure sore on:

  • Your tailbone or buttocks
  • Your shoulder blades and spine
  • The backs of your arms and legs where they rest against the chair

When you’re bed-bound, pressure sores can occur in any of these areas:

  • The back or sides of your head
  • The rims of your ears
  • Your shoulders or shoulder blades
  • Your hipbones, lower back or tailbone
  • The backs or sides of your knees, heels, ankles and toes

Alternatively, if you have read the previous bedsore information and believe that you or a loved one may have been the victim of nursing home neglect, call (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey or (215) 567-2380 in the Philadelphia metro area.  You can also contact a nursing home abuse attorney by filing out the case evaluation form on the left side of the page. A legal professional will contact you within 12 hours to discuss your case.