Let’s face it, Plaintiff’s attorney’s don’t much care for insurance companies. We fight with them all day, every day in order to try to get them to honor their responsibilities to our clients. The insurance companies fight us tooth and nail every step of the way by denying and delaying legitimate claims in the hope that we will accept less compensation than our clients are entitled to. When you deal with these tactics every day like we do, you grow so used to them that it almost seems normal. Every once in a while, though, new information comes to light that reminds us just how abusive and deceptive insurance companies really are.
A newly released report compiled after reviewing thousands of pages of documents, complaints, testimony and financial records of insurance companies from across the nation provided us with a refresher on just how bad insurance companies treat people. The abuses it reveals are enough to turn your stomach, and the common tactic of “delay, deny, defend” rings true to those of us battling in the trenches with these insurance giants every day. This is certainly not the first such report that identifies the tactics used by insurance companies to defraud their policy holders and lawful claimants. What is new, though, is that they name the 10 worst insurance companies in the country. While we have our own opinions formed over decades of dealing with insurance companies, it is nice to finally have some empirical evidence to rely on when we tell our friends, family and clients who the worst companies really are. Without further adieu, the worst insurance companies inare:
1. Allstate Insurance Company. Is this really a surprise? The supposed good hands people have had the boxing gloves on for years, no matter what some actor who played a president on the show 24 may tell us.
2. UNUM Insurance. One of the largestcarriers, has been mistreating their insureds longer than anyone in this office can remember.
3. AIG. The largest in the world, AIG has been referred to as the new Enron because multi billion dollar corporate fraud.
4. State Farm. Another shocker here. The Company has gone to great lengths to avoid paying claims, including forging signatures on earthquake waivers after the deadly Northridge earthquakes, and altering engineering reports regarding damage after Hurricane Katrina.
5. Conseco. This company 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.
6. Wellpoint. A, Wellpoint routinely cancels the policies of pregnant women and chronically ill patients.
7. Farmers Insurance Group. Consistently ranks at or near the bottom of homeowner satisfaction surveys. The company offers pizza parties to adjusters who meet low payment goals.
8. United Health. Physicians report that reimbursement rates are so low and payment is delayed so long that patient health is compromised. Money that should have been spent on medical treatment for policyholders has instead gone to the company’s former CEO, who faced criminal and civil charges for back dating stock options.
9. Torchmark. Founded by its own admission as little more than a scam, Torchmark has preyed on low-income Southerners for over 100 years. The company has come under fire for a variety of transgressions, including charging minority policyholders more than whites.
10. Liberty Mutual. Like Allstate and State Farm, Liberty Mutual has adopted “deny, delay and defend” tactics. The company has also gone one step further than simple claims-handling abuses by indulging in what regulators describe as systematic bid rigging.
You can read the full report here.
While these are the ten worst insurance companies nationwide, I could add a few companies to the list who operate in Elmira, the Southern Tier of New York, and the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania. The companies I am thinking of may be too small to make a national list, but any Twin Tier resident who has ever dealt with them could tell you a story or two. I won’t list them here, but if you ask me privately, I will be more than happy to give you my own top ten list of the worst insurance companies.
Thanks for reading,
Adam M. Gee, Esq.
New York and Pennsylvania Personal Injury and Malpractice Attorney
Ziff, Weiermiller, Hayden & Mustico, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY 14901