Recently, the American Association for Justice (AAJ) published a report called, “The Ten Worst Insurance Companies in America: How they raise premiums, deny claims and refuse insurance to those who need it most.” In today’s blog, I’m going to first share some of the findings from that report and then I’m going to share more insights from the attorneys in my firm on what they feel are the worst car insurance companies. I think you’ll be surprised by what you learn.
“We were told to lie by our supervisors.”
The American Association for Justice’s Report
The 28-page report released by the AAJ doesn’t mince words. Right in the introduction, you can find their “top ten” list of the worse car insurance companies:
- State Farm
- United Health
- Liberty Mutual
Clearly the AAJ was looking at all kinds of insurance, including health insurance; my team (whose thoughts I’ll share below), zeroed in on the worst car and motorcycle insurance companies. I’m going to share a few highlights from the report, because they so closely match what we have seen at The O’Sullivan Law Firm:
Allstate—The Worst Insurance Company in America
One company stood out above all others. Allstate’s concerted efforts to put profits over policyholders has earned its place as the worst insurance company in America.
According to CEO Thomas Wilson, Allstate’s mission is clear: “our obligation is to earn a return for our share-holders.” Unfortunately, that dedication to shareholders has come at the expense of policyholders. The company that publicly touts its “good hands” approach privately instructs agents to employ a “boxing gloves strategy against its own policyholders.”
In the words of former Allstate adjuster Jo Ann Katzman, “We were told to lie by our supervisors—it’s tough to look at people and know you’re lying.”
The world’s biggest insurer, AIG has a long history of claims-handling abuses for both individuals and business clients. 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 multi-billion-dollar corporate fraud.
As the biggest property casualty insurance company in America, State Farm has become notorious for its deny and delay tactics. 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.
Open your eyes to the horrible tactics used by the very companies that are supposed to protect us when we are at our most vulnerable.
Like Allstate and State Farm, Liberty Mutual hired consulting giant McKinsey & Co. and adopted deny, delay, and defend tactics. The company has also gone one further than simple claims-handling abuses by indulging in what regulators allege is systematic bid-rigging.
I encourage you to read the full report, which goes into much more detail on each company. While it will probably make you very angry, it will open your eyes to the horrible tactics used by the very companies that are supposed to protect us when we are at our most vulnerable.
Colorado’s Worst Car Insurance Companies
Now, let’s bring it home. After reading the report above, I gathered the O’Sullivan attorneys together and took an informal poll, asking them their opinions on the worst car and motorcycle insurance companies in Colorado. Both Cara New and Eli Ohlhausen were as forthcoming as the AAJ report. Here’s what we determined:
The Worst Car and Motorcycle Insurance Companies (in no particular order)
- Fred Loya
- State Farm
- American Family
Any insurance company that has their own in-house legal team has no incentive to settle and they will fight victims to the bitter end.
Read on for our true stories about some of these worst car insurance companies.
I’ve made my feelings well-known about Fred Loya insurance. They are a predatory company, taking advantage of low-income Coloradans. Even in cases that would be open-and-shut for any other insurance company, Fred Loya forces victims to sue them in court. There are many personal injury attorneys that won’t take cases to court, or victims simply don’t have the stamina to proceed with a court case, so the victim loses and Fred Loya wins. Please read my blogs on Fred Loya and share them with everyone you know.
On average, 95% of our personal injury cases settle without ever going to court. However, when we discover that Allstate is involved, that ratio drops to 50%. Allstate does absolutely everything in their power to deny claims. In fact, Allstate has been taken to court multiple times for its illegal tactics. For example, in a 2011 Arkansas case, it was revealed that Allstate had a nationwide practice of “deliberately low-balling small insurance claims for bodily injury and taking advantage of financially-vulnerable personal-injury victims.”
This company is in the business of selling policies and not paying claims. Every time we’ve sent in a client’s demand package, Geico turns around and low-balls their offer. They even “adjust” medical bills lower saying that a hospital or health provider has not charged “what’s usual and customary.” When we turn around and ask them where they get these “usual and customary” numbers, they say their figures are proprietary. They have even tried to reduce Kaiser’s bills, which are typically lower than other bills we’ve seen. Geico’s policyholders and their victims rarely get full policy limits unless they are represented by an aggressive attorney. It’s no wonder their mascot is a lizard, as their tactics are reptilian.
State Farm does everything in its power to avoid paying, going so far as to expose their clients to lawsuits.
State Farm does everything in its power to avoid paying, going so far as to expose their clients to lawsuits. For example, if their client is at fault in an accident, State Farm should immediately pay full coverage to the victim. When they don’t, it exposes their clients to a lawsuit from the victim. This is exactly why the at-fault driver bought insurance! To take care of damages if he ever made a mistake behind the wheel! Like all the others, State Farm also hides policy information, stalls and delays.
Car Insurance Companies Hiding Coverage
We have seen all of these companies attempt to hide coverage. They hide coverage from victims as well as from their own policyholders! For example, we have seen a rising trend in the insurance industry in which they give policyholders false information, offer partial coverage, or even share incomplete paperwork to disguise the total amount that they owe. Please read my blog on this topic.
This is another reason that victims need to hire competent personal injury attorneys who have a track record of taking cases to court. If you hire an attorney who is notorious for settling, insurance companies will hide coverage and offer the lowest amount possible.
We’ve found that any insurance company that has their own in-house legal team has no incentive to settle and they will fight victims to the bitter end, even when the victims have a very clear right to the payments they seek. Some victims lose their jobs, cars and homes waiting for insurance companies to pay a claim. It’s inhumane.
Are There Any Insurance Companies You Can Trust?
I asked my team what insurance companies they trust and (after some deep sighs) they reluctantly said these are the best:
- Progressive (This company is “hit or miss.” While Progressive does not employ an in-house legal team, they don’t offer much for victims. Often, you have to sue them; then they turn around and offer full policy limits.)
However, remember that being the “best” in an industry that is plagued by unethical behavior doesn’t necessarily make these companies trustworthy. If you are ever in a car or motorcycle accident in Colorado, you should seek an attorney’s advice before ever speaking to an insurance representative.
Finally, my team had this advice: “Never buy insurance from a company that advertises on daytime television with a cartoon or an animated animal.”
If you have any questions about this article or if you think your insurance company is giving you the run-around, please contact us today.