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Ten Worst Insurance Companies in America identified by American Association for Justice

As an Orlando insurance claims lawyer and a person who has been a victim of a car accident, I have had the unfortunate and frustrating experience of dealing with insurance companies. While some are definitely worse than others, my experience has lead me to the conclusion that all insurance companies adhere to the same basic principle of only looking out for their best interests. The American Association for Justice (AAJ), a coalition of trial attorneys, law professors, paralegals and law students, released a report identifying the ten worst insurance companies in America. After a comprehensive investigation and review of thousands of court documents, SEC and FBI records, state insurance department investigations and complaints, news accounts from across the country, and the testimony of former insurance agents and adjusters, the AAJ identified the following list of insurance companies, across a range of different insurance fields (auto, health, life, homeowners, and disability insurers) as being the ten worst insurance companies in America:

  1. Allstate
  2. Unum
  3. AIG
  4. State Farm
  5. Conseco
  6. WellPoint
  7. Farmers
  8. UnitedHealth
  9. Torchmark
  10. Liberty Mutual

Allstate Insurance Company stood out above the rest and earned the distinction of being the worst insurance company in America based on their repeated efforts to put profits above their policyholders. According to Allstate's CEO Thomas Wilson: "our obligation is to earn a return for our shareholders." A senior executive at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) clearly identified the ultimate goal adhered to by insurance companies: "the bottom line is that insurance companies make money when they don't pay claims." It is this mission that leads insurance companies to act in bad faith towards their insureds and earns them a bad reputation among consumers.

These insurance companies earned their rankings by employing a tactic of "strong arming" their policyholders. This confrontational approach employs a combination of denying, delaying, and defending claims regardless of whether or not they are valid. By using these tactics, insurance companies are wagering on the likelihood that the clamant would give up or the claims would become so expensive and time consuming that lawyers would begin to refuse these claims, leaving the claimants without access to legal representation.

Although we are aware that insurance is a business and insurance companies are motivated to help themselves and their money. The law requires insurance companies to treat their consumers fairly; this includes payment of claims that are honestly due to the insured. The problem is that insurance companies are not looking out for the best interests of their insureds. It is not unusual for an insurance company to limit or even deny coverage of a claim without proper justification or warning. They have a team of adjusters, investigators and attorneys whose goal is to minimize the amount of money they pay towards claims.

It is this insistence on not adhering to the requirements of the law and obligations toward their insureds that keeps civil trial attorneys, such as myself, in business. Although the AAJ has identified the above insurance companies as being the ten worst in America, my experience is that all insurance companies, to some extent, adhere to the same concepts and bottom line. While I agree that Allstate is by far the worst insurance company to deal with, most other insurance companies routinely deny valid claims resulting in financial hardships to my clients and subjecting their insureds to unnecessary lawsuits. Although insurance companies feel that denying, delaying, or aggressively defending claims will make claimants go away and would deter insurance claims attorneys from representing such claimants, I have found that claimants are very resilient and their attorneys are very determined to help their clients seek just compensation for their loss. It makes me want to fight even more for my clients.

For more detailed information about this study or to view a full copy of the AAJ's report, visit http://www.justice.org/docs/TenWorstInsuranceCompanies.pdf.

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