I have decided that it’s time for me to come clean. I used to be insured by Allstate.
Not only was I insured by Allstate, I was insured by Allstate up until a couple of years ago… while I was a plaintiff’s lawyer. In fact, another lawyer told me I should be slapped for supporting Allstate.
But I grew up using Allstate. My family used Allstate. Then, when I flew the coop, I purchased Allstate from one of my best friend’s dad, who was an Allstate agent. It was a natural thing to do. But not for someone in my profession.
Allstate has been a beacon of insurer success for the past decade or so for its development and use of a computer program called Colossus (a trailblazer in achieving low settlements) that is used to value claims. Books have been written, sometimes negative, on the software program which has been used, according to a report published today, to lowball claims.
As a lawyer for someone who has been injured, through no fault of their own, I understand that the last thing you want is a fight from an insurance company saying that you weren’t really injured. Recent examples of insurer bravado, not limited to any particular insurer, include the following statements (paraphrased): the ER records don’t say anything about his cracked molars, so something else must have broken his teeth (my client was t-boned by someone who ran a stop sign at 50 mph and is lucky to be alive); the MRI shows an impinged nerve, but the impingement appears to be light (oh, that explains why my previously pain-free client can no longer sit through an hour lecture without taking a break); and, we feel like your client was "made whole" by having her $28,000 in medical expenses paid and offer $0 in general damages, pain and suffering, etc. (I hope this has nothing to do with the fact that my client is an immigrant).
I totally get the idea of minimizing expenses and trying to be profitable, but there are plenty of examples of insurance companies who do this without, in Mark Romano’s words "manipulat[ing] computerized systems to broadly underpay injury claims." Unfortunately, I can’t find a list at the moment. I am sure it exists, though. Totally sure.
When looking for an insurance company, I will offer one piece of advice: I prefer local insurance companies and find them more likely to be tailored to the individual customer than the national companies will be. That’s not to say there aren’t good national companies. I just prefer a custom approach. And most of my clients do, too.