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K. Lindsay Rakers
K. Lindsay Rakers
Attorney • (314) 588-8500

Allstate – You are NOT in Good Hands!

14 comments

The Ten Worst Insurance Companies in America. The title of this article certainly caught my eye and it is well worth the read. It is no secret – I don't like insurance companies. I think insurance companies bully people and take advantage of those who are in a weak part of their lives. I spend a lot of time in my practice trying to explain to clients – former, current, and potential – that the insurance companies are not there to help. The insurance companies are in the business of making money. Don't be fooled by the commercials telling you they will help you with your claim, they will protect you, they will help you get your life back in order. Now, there are definitely some solid, reputable insurance adjusters out there and I have had the pleasure of working with them. But for the most part, even the "nice" adjusters are under strict guidelines to protect the bottom line or risk losing their job.

This article, which is posted by the American Association for Justice, explains that insurance companies are notorious for: (1) raising premiums; (2) denying claims; and (3) outright refusing insurance to people who need it. The article also address the question on everyone's minds – which insurance companies are the worst of the worst? Which insurance companies claim to protect car accident victims or those insured on dangerous properties but then refuse to pay? Which insurance companies claim to protect you if you injure someone in a car crash or if someone is injured on your property? Which health insurance companies aim to obtain your business (and your money) but then when you need their help and need payment for a claim, they tell you that your claim is denied because the treatment is "experimental", or not "medically necessary" or not covered for another reason – and they do so even though the adjusters are not doctors, not nurses, and have no medical training?

Who is the worst of the worst? Allstate, followed closely by Unum, AIG and State Farm. What is Allstate's professed goal? According to its CEO, the mission of Allstate is "to earn a return for our shareholders". What does that have to do with you and your family? If Allstate is willing to openly admit to the public that their mission has absolutely nothing to do with protecting their insureds and those injured by their insureds, why support them?

Over the past 10 years, insurance companies (those handling property and injury/casualty claims) have enjoyed profits of over $30 BILLION a year. These stats are offensive in light of the fact that injured individuals and families who have lost loved ones due to the negligence of another continue to struggle to make ends meet.

Profits over policyholders. Profits over people. It isn't right. Don't support these insurance companies.

Lindasy Rakers is a Missouri and Illinois injury attorney. You can follow her on Facebook here.

14 Comments

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  1. Attorneys are Evil says:
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    This woman is a joke. Again, another liberal socialist attorney for the Obama Lawyer’s party throwing out words like “record profits” to try to upset the masses and spark more class warfare. Ms. Rakers, do you even know what profits are? Profits are what’s left after everyone gets paid, including the CEO and policyholders after a claim. You didn’t mention anything about the fact that Allstate pays 98% of it’s total claims including many fraudulent claims which keep rates high.

    Also, an insurance company doesn’t “need to insure anyone.” If you are a big enough moron to live in a flood plain or along a shore where everything gets distroyed on an annual basis, why should Allstate have to cover your stupidity? Nice try Lindsay, go back to chasing ambulances and stay away from attacking industries you know nothing about.

  2. Attorneys are Evil says:
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    NIce spin from a progressive attorney.
    1) The number one cause of increased premiums are due to fraud who you represent on a daily basis.
    2) An insurance company doesn’t have to insure anybody.
    3) The mission statement for all publicly traded corporations is to return as much to shareholders as possible.
    4) Only the Government is allowed to screw the shareholders (ie taxpayers) thru shady law practices that progressive attorneys drum up.
    5) Your source is written by the trial lawyers of America (gee I don’t see any bias reporting there)

  3. Mark Bello says:
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    “Evil”: Spin? A quick check of your IP address indicates that your email was penned at Allstate Headquarters in Illinois. Gee, I wonder if an “Attorneys are Evil” email address gave you away? Talk about a biased, jaded opinion! Whether you are correct about a CEO’s responsibility to his shareholders or not, an insurance company’s responsibilities go further. An insurance company has a responsibility to its policy holders, as well. In Michigan, where the no-fault insurance law requires insurance companies to pay its OWN policy holders benenfits for property loss, wage loss, and other out-of-pocket services, regardless of fault, many citizens are forced to pursue litigation against their own insurance companies to get the benefits they paid for and deserve. Allstate, in Michigan, is notorious for hiring defense doctors (at significant expense; money that could be used to reasonably pay claims rather than defend them), at the earliest stages possible, to provide bought and paid for opinions that plaintiffs do not need treatment and are not disabled. Thousands of seriously injured and disabled people have sorely needed benefits delayed or denied based upon this deliberate and despicable strategy. Allstate and other companies like it then defend the lawsuits for as long as possible, denying and delaying life-sustaining benefits in an effort to create maximum desperation to resolve cases as inexpensively as possible. And this is how they treat their own policy holders! Imagine how they treat a seriously injured plaintiff who had the audacity to be hit and injured by an Allstate insured and where Allstate represents that at-fault driver in an adversarial litigation! Company profits should be made based on rational and appropriate decisions about coverage and damages. It should not be made, deceitfully, on the backs of injured or disabled policy holders, who are unreasonably delayed, unreasonably denied, and unreasonably compensated so that the insurance company CEO can impress stockholders, increase his bonus, and buy a yacht. “Evil”: The Evil ones are Allstate and you. Lindsay proudly proclaimed her profession and her zeal for justice; she didn’t hide who she was. You, on the other hand, concealed your position with Allstate behind an attorney hating, phony, email address. Why did you hide your identity? Because you represent one of the most two-faced, evil, corporations in American history. So, crawl back into the Allstate cave you came from and never rear your ugly head again!

  4. Michael Phelan says:
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    I wonder if Allstate even knows that this slacker is wasting time sending personal hate mail on his company computer when he should be working. Kind of ironic that this guy is ranting about increased insurance premiums while he’s screwing off at work at an insurance company while hiding behind a fake name.

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    Mr. “Attorneys Are Evil”:

    Thank you for taking the time to emphasize my points and position – Allstate acts without thinking of consequences. As you can see, I don’t hide who I am – I stand by my opinions and my posts. I encourage you to do the same. Or perhaps you don’t want the public to know that you are an EMPLOYEE OF ALLSTATE. Yes, we were able to track your IP address and determine that you are, indeed, posting your comments from an Allstate location. I can only assume that you are an adjuster or even some form of manager. If you are in management, shame on you. If you are an adjuster, I actually feel for you. You may have taken this job hoping you could help people resolve claims and then you found out how Allstate runs things.

    I direct you to recent Missouri rulings. Remember the “McKinsey Study”? If not, check it out. A reminder of what happened here – Allstate was up to its usual antics. The lawyers properly requested various documents during litigation and the Court ruled that Allstate had to turn over these documents. Scared that the world would see Allstate’s shady claims evaluation practices for what they are, Allstate refused – in the face of a court order! As a result, Allstate was smacked with a $25,000 per day penalty for its behavior.

    Remember the Wayne Davis case? Allstate refused to protect ITS OWN INSURED. It refused to pay the $50,000 to two severely injured individuals with over $300,000 in medical bills. Do you stand behind that decision? Do you think it is fair that someone should incur $300,000 in medical bills as a result of a crappy Allstate driver and then be hung out to dry? You will remember that ultimately, Allstate was ordered to pay over $15 million dollars for their bad faith actions.

    Sir, these are just two instances I am aware of in Missouri. There are many, many more nation-wide. While I appreciate the fact that you may be ashamed for working for this company, that you feel the need to stick up for what you do so you can sleep at night, get your facts straight first. Contrary to your post, I actually DO know quite a bit about the insurance industry and for the most part, it disgusts me.

    Finally, I have never chased an ambulance in my life. I don’t have to. You do a good enough job screwing people out of money they deserve that they find me on their own.

  6. Greg Webb says:
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    Mr. Bello said it quite well. Allstate is obligated, through the contract it has with its insured, to pay benefits owed. It markets its “good hands”, but IMO, it may more appropriately be styled “sleight of hands” folks. I currently represent an individual who was hit at high speed by an uninsured driver. My client seeks to have Allstate provide benefits paid for under the Uninsured Motorist (UM) clause of the policy. Client had no previous symptoms before the crash and since has had multiple knee and ankle surgeries to the same leg. Allstate, good hands folks that they are, has fought every inch of the way, and hired a defense doctor to give opinions that are so biased, skewed, and without basis that even I was stunned (and I am used to this kind of stuff). If I have ever seen a case where an insurance company has blatantly, and without good faith, failed to pay benefits it owed, this is the one. Unfortunately, there is no claim for bad faith in my state for this kind of insurance company conduct – thus the conduct. I have seen plenty of bad faith before this, but this one takes the proverbial cake. I look forward to the jury trial on this case.

  7. Vern Dennis says:
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    1) Everybody is out to make a profit. Personal injury attorneys turn down good cases every day because there isn’t enough profit in the case to make it worthwhile for them
    2) Every industry has its bad eggs. Allstate probably treats 95% of its insureds properly. The 5% it doesn’t treat well make the headlines. Similarly most personal injury attorneys are decent folks – it’s the sleezy 25-30% who give the the profession a bad name. My neighborhood got blasted by three hurricanes in 2004. Many of my neighbors were insured with Allstate and were treated fairly. As a then-member of my HOA Board of Directors , I’d have heard about any complaints

    3) There are a lot of misleadingly named organizations – it’s not just business groups that do this. The Academy renamed itself the American Association for Justice as a PR move, not as an accurate description of who they are or what they do

    4) I have a personal injury attorney’s phone number on my refrigerator for my wife to call in case anything serious (and not my fault) happens to me. The firm that is on my fridge doesn’t advertise on TV or radio and doesn’t stick magnetic business cards on the back of the yellow pages . The really good firms do not need to advertise for clients.

    I have read other of Lindsay Raker’s comments -I wouldn’t consider her to be very objective, but that’s okay sinces it’s her column and she is entitled to express her opinions

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    Vern: thanks for taking the time to post a comment. I actually agree with your thoughts and your points are well-taken and thought out.

    There are definitely bad eggs (and good ones) in every profession. We try, as a group, to stand up for our profession. I still believe the practice of law is indeed a noble one. Like you, I have developed lifelong relationships with professionals outside of the practice of law and they do not have billboards, do not advertise – they are just good people and good at what they do.

    I appreciate your honesty. Thanks again.

  9. Mark Bello says:
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    Vern: There are certainly “bad eggs” in every industry. As to “sleeziness”, I believe you have your percentages wrong. I am not a big fan of attorney advertising and I have expressed my feelings in other posts and comments, but the fact that you do something ethically and legally permitted (advertise) does not make you “sleezy”.

    “Sleezy” is denying benefits that you know you owe to a seriously disabled accident victim. “Sleezy” is deliberately delaying settlement of an obviously payable claim simply because the system allows you to and you want to earn interest on your reserves. “Sleezy” is spending millions of dollars lobbying for unneeded tort reform so that victims will ALWAYS be uncompensated, regardless of the numbers and verdicts you read about in the newspaper. “Sleezy” is doing all this when you could simply do the right thing and pay the victims promptly, fairly and appropriately. “Sleezy”, as Lindsay points out is forcing a victim to hire an attorney in order to get you to do what you should have done in the first instance.

    This is not what happens “5%” of the time; this is the conduct that insurance companies employ as a their ususal STRATEGY, every day, in courtrooms, all over the country. This behavior, endemic to insurance companies, causes most litigation; it is conduct that attorneys combat, on behalf of their clients, every day. Insurance is the only business in history that penalizes the customer for using it’s products and services exactly as he/she is supposed to. Now, THAT is “sleezy”.

  10. Vern Dennis says:
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    Wow, Mark! You really have drunk the ATLA Kool-Aid. There may be a few companies that behave as you allege,but in dealing with insurance companies over the last 35 years, I’ve rarely found that to be the case. In dealing with personal injury attorneys in south Florida or certain other jurisdictions, I would regard 25-30% as being a really conservative guess. Not all jurisdictions are as bad as Chicago or Miami, to be sure.

    Sleezy is when the adjuster offers the claimant the $10K policy limits on a 10/20/10 policy, the claimant runs to an attorney who files suit and then counsels his client to accept the $10K, charging $3300 to $4000 when he should have simply told the client “I can’t help you”

    Sleezy is when an attorney sells out his client because he doesn’t want to invest any more time in a case since it already represents a good payday.

    Sleezy is filing suit against a party you know bears no fault for an accident and then telling the defendant’s insurance adjuster – “It’ll cost you $10K to defend so give me $7500 and we’ll go away

    That’s sleezy

    Of course not all personal injury attorneys are sleezy but by the very nature of the adversarial system there are temptations toward perverting the system.

    Take this quote from Laura Zois’s Maryland Accident Lawyer blog quoting an Ohio attorney: “My purpose in selecting a jury is to get the most favorable jury for my client”. This exemplifies what is wrong with the American system of civil justice. The objective for all sides should be a fair and impartial jury, not an effort to stack the deck for your client. Justice doesn’t seem to be a consideration at all. Ultimately the civil justice system is about money and right or wrong or fairness don’t really enter into the equation at all. It’s a damned shame, but that’s how it is.

  11. Jon E. Lewis says:
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    Vern, I would like to point out that regardless of what the Ohio attorney said, no attorney “selects” a jury. You are given a certain amount of strikes, and you are left with what you have.

    There are many problems within the system, but most Judges and juries vet out the problems. It has gotten so bad that many clients end up with less than what is adequate compensation. In the Alabama jury trial reporter for July, there were 12 motor vehicle cases, and 7 were defense verdicts.

    The insurance companies and others put out statistics and PR campaigns talking about how bad the jury system is. It is bad, for us. We don’t even ask for juries in Jefferson County (Birmingham). But, guess what? The defendants ALWAYS do, and they pay for it. What does that tell you? They don’t have faith in our Judges? We have very good judges in Jefferson County, and when I say that, I mean fair and balanced, not plaintiff oriented.

  12. Pete Mackey says:
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    Vern – any good lawyer, whether he/she represents a plaintiff or an insurance company, tries to strike a jury “most favorable” for their client. We are advocates. We have an ethical duty to do so. If, God forbid, you had a family member rendered paraplegic by a drunk driver or wrongfully charged with a serious crime, you would demand no less. I sure would.

    You aren’t asking the lawyer to cheat, or even subvert the system. Every potential juror brings their background to the table. If I represented an insurance company, I sure would not want a person whose health insurance carrier previously denied a major medical claim on my jury. If I represent an injured worker, I don’t want a retired insurance adjuster on my jury.

  13. Mark Bello says:
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    Vern: It seems you have been drinking the Kool Aid of the Allstates of the world. Like “Evil”, you have not disclosed what your profession is or in what capacity you have been “dealing with insurance companies over the last 35 years”, but I can tell you, unequivocably, that in my almost 40 years experience (without drinking anyone’s Kool Aid) dealing with insurance companies, there is far more “abuse” on the defense side than on the plaintiff side. In my experience (and it is considerable, on both sides of these cases), the only reason a plaintiff attorney has to take a fee on a $10,000 policy is because an insurance company made him work for it and made his client wait, unreasonably, to collect it. In my considerable experience, no attorney “sells out his client” for an early pay day; clearly, the contingent fee system makes him earn his percentage and the more the client receives in deserved compensation, the higher the attorney fee. Other than the Kool Aid you drink, your proposition makes no sense. In my experience, no attorney sues the wrong party; it is too expensive to do so. Perhaps he sues someone who is less at fault than the principal party (in states that permit him to do so), but never, deliberately, a non at-fault party. And, if he does so accidentally, he dismisses that party or faces court sanctions. Perhaps you have experienced some infrequent exceptions; that would not surprise me; there are always infrequent exceptions. But insurance company tactics are NOT the exceptions; they are the RULE. As “Evil” stated, insurance companies are focused on PROFITS, not on reasonably paying claims. Delaying claims, denying claims, jacking injured or disabled people around, apparently, is a strategy that increases the bottom lines of insurance companies; otherwise, they wouldn’t do it. But, that strategy is the only reason that a claimant has to retain an attorney to get paid. So please, put the blame for systemic problems where it belongs, with the insurance companies. That is the RULE, not the infrequent exception.

  14. Vern Dennis says:
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    Mark – much of my career has been doing subrogation work, although I have handled claims at various times. I’ve also served on six juries (four criminal and two civil) so I know how juries work, probably better than most attorneys do. I have never thought that juries were the problem, except to the extent that the voir dire process (and the financial burden that jury service loads onto hourly employees and the self-employed) weeds out intelligent jurors. I do think that peremptory juror strikes are a joke – if you cannot eliminate a juror for cause (and you get unlimited strikes for cause) the juror should be seated

    If judges did their jobs properly, I might agree with you Mark, but most state court judges (admittedly Federal judges are a different breed) are afraid of their own shadows and will not grant summary judgment motions or impose sanctions if the most specious argument can be advanced by plaintiff counsel