A short time ago, we posted a blog about homeowners’ insurance, and things homeowners should know before filing a large claim. It got us to thinking. What else is wrong the insurance industry? Why are there so many bad faith insurers out there? Why do we have to feel so threatened by companies we pay to protect us? Why do you need a New Jersey trial lawyer to protect you against an insurance carrier?
In a report done by the American Association for Justice, the top ten worst insurance companies for consumers have been discovered. After lengthy research into court documents, reports filed by both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Securities Exchange Commission, country wide news accounts, and testimony from former agents and adjusters, the AAJ has provided a great deal of information that will ebb our faith in some of the nations leading insurance companies.
10. Liberty Mutual
4. State Farm
Reporting each discretion of each bad faith insurance company would take quite some time, so we’ll talk about the one company that stood out above the rest, Allstate Insurance Company. Perhaps it was their mission that set them off on the wrong course. According to CEO Thomas Wilson, “[their] obligation is to earn a return for [their] shareholders.” Said differently, “We put profits over the people we are supposed to insure.”
Unfortunately, shareholders (mostly large financial institutions and hedge funds) and policyholders (the little guys) are not the same people, and while corporate shareholders may be earning profits , many times policyholders are being cheated. Publicly, Allstate’s slick advertising campaign claims their insured will be put you in “good hands.” Privately, agents are trained to employ “boxing gloves,” an aggressive litigation strategy that aims to deny claims at all costs.
They use a secret claims evaluation software called “Colossus” to make lowball offers to victimized customers looking to receive the help they’ve been paying for. Adjusters are trained in the “3 D’s,” to deny, delay, and defend. A common tactic is to employ a “sit and wait” strategy, which Allstate’s research knows increases likelihood that claimants will just give up. Adjusters say they were rewarded for keeping payments low, even if they had to lie to their clients to do so. Adjusters were even rewarded for such actions! For example, one former adjustor told the AAJ that he won a prize (i.e., a portable refrigerator) for wrongfully trying to deny fire claims by blaming arson.
Complaints to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners against Allstate amount to a number greater than almost all of its major competitors. After Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana Department of Insurance received approximately 1,200 complaints against Allstate, almost double its competitor State Farm, and State Farm held a larger share of the market!
Maryland fined Allstate upwards of 18 million dollars after they raised premiums and changed coverage without alerting policy holders. In Texas, Allstate has to pay 70 million dollars to homeowners after overcharging for insurance. In Florida, Allstate is in trouble with regulators because they’ve dropped over 400,000 customers since 2004, and it appears to be because they are homeowners’-insurance-only customers. Florida law prohibits this practice.
So why work so hard to rip people off? To boost the bottom line of course!
Allstate profited $4.6 billion in 2007. It’s CEO, Thomas Wilson, made $10.7 million that year. His predecessor, Edward Libby, made $18.8 million, plus an additional $25.4 million in retirement benefits. The less they payout, the more they take in.
New Jersey Trial lawyers
New Jersey Trial lawyers are a necessity to you if you are being cheated by your insurance company. While bad faith insurance companies work ‘round the clock to limit your recoveries, New Jersey Trial lawyers work ‘round the clock to increase your recoveries.
If you are currently being low-balled by your insurance company for damages they should be covering, call the New Jersey Trial lawyers at Mininno Law Firm. They are here to help you receive the compensation you need and deserve. Contact us or call (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.