Virtually every aspect of insurance involves the public trust. The insurance industry does not disagree. This was a point we made in an amicus brief filed in Jacobsen vs. Allstate Insurance Company, a case pending before the Montana Supreme Court.
Over the last few weeks, the Friday blog post has addressed the different approaches that can be used by plaintiff’s attorneys when battling evasive discovery tactics used by insurers in bad faith cases. We discussed the fact that, in a bad faith lawsuit, an insured is entitled to a plethora of information that might not otherwise be discoverable. We’ve also mentioned claims files quite a bit, but I realized that we had not really discussed in detail what should be in an insurer’s claims file, how it can help you in your bad faith lawsuit, and why you may be entitled to it. So, here goes…
Miami Herald reporter, Bea Garcia, wrote a very important story, Tackling Contentious Insurance Issues, concerning Insurance Consumer Advocate Sean Shaw. It appears the Roundtable meeting I wrote about in Alternative Resolution Roundtable: Appraisal is the Hot Topic and Is There Any Chance that Appraisal Will Stay the Same in Florida?, is going to be an important last meeting before Shaw takes stances on how Florida legislators should deal with current insurance consumer issues:
Allstate Insurance Company lost a bench trial involving the claims practices employed in its Claims Core Process Redesign program first implemented in the 1990’s. The findings by the trial court are significant because the Court indicated that those claims practices violate standards which are routinely violative of unfair trade and claims practices in most of the states. The findings indicate these were done as a general business practice.
Suppose you knew that your insurance company had started a new claims practice program called “Quantum Leap” to increase corporate practices by making certain no claim was overpaid—would you buy that insurance? Would you feel peace of mine if you knew that secret program was in place and had such a claims philosophy?
State Farm lost its most significant claims case while Ed Rust Jr. was the "owner/manager" of State Farm. Ed Rust Jr. was the person who ultimately decided that thousands of State Farm policyholders would be underpaid or denied benefits in Mississippi. He is the chief corporate leader of State Farm Mutual, the corporation that allows its wholly owned subsidiary, State Farm Florida, to essentially lie about its financial situation. Everybody—especially Rust–knows that State Farm Florida is paying millions that would otherwise be profits to State Farm Mutual. I suspect a number of highly qualified agents and claims adjusters wonder why there has been no change in the top management for two generations. After all, in the United States, we believe in earning leadership rather than being born into it.
David Berardinelli made a presentation at NAPIA‘s Convention on Friday. His topic, “From ‘Good Hands’ to Boxing Gloves: How Allstate Changed Casualty Insurance in America,” was an excellent and updated version of a speech I have seen before. Many of his points are important to understanding why the claims culture has changed so much over the past twenty years. Sadly, part of the story he tells reflects the greed of some executives in the financial industry.
Continue Reading David Berardinelli’s Fight Against Allstate’s Claims Culture
In today’s culture, we too often honor swagger and pithy bluster. Those with ability to ridicule in fifteen seconds often become leaders of opinion. We are “dumbing down” the process of learning from one another when we need hard and thorough reflection of issues.…
Continue Reading Reflections on Insurance Disputes and Adjustments After Two Weeks in Italy