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06/18/2001
     
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T-C-B Needs to Include
. . . R-E-S-P-E-C-T !

Tempe, AZ 06/18/2001 - For those few not familiar with MoTown music of 30 years ago, "T-C-B" means "Tak'n Care of Business". "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" is self-explanatory. Sad to say, all too many insurance companies seem to have abandoned the R-E-S-P-E-C-T element in their day-to-day T-C-B activities.

Media Investigations . . .

A few months ago, a major news media investigation exposed an insurance industry practice of using a claims review service that intentionally recommended under-payment or denial of legitimate medical claims. Many of these reviews were written by people with no medical experience whatsoever. This practice devastated the lives of those who looked to their insurance company for help.

Another major news media investigation disclosed how one specific insurance company (Allstate) hired a con-artist (previously convicted of fraud) to provide phony engineering reports. Allstate used those known fraudulent reports to deny payment to their insureds devastated by the Northridge earthquake.

Yet another investigative report disclosed how the auto insurance industry suborns windshield installation short-cuts that jeopardize the lives of future occupants of repaired vehicles. Links to all of these media stories are on the I-Can web site.

Jury Verdicts . . .

Fraud and abuse have been so pervasive for so long that some adjusters of conscience have begun coming forward with here-to-fore confidential information and supporting documentation. These whistle blowers are risking their careers and their retirement in an effort to do the right thing.

This information / documentation is being brought to court by abused consumers. When the eyes of jury members are opened to insurance industry practices, defendant insurance companies face significant financial penalties.

Tort Reform . . .

However, rather than abandoning their fraudulent / abusive practices, some insurance companies have chosen to support new laws that limit a court's ability to punish them.

In effect, when an insurance company is caught with their hand in the cookie jar, new laws would require they return a portion of that cookie. They get to keep the rest of that cookie and all the other cookies taken previously. There would be nothing to discourage them from taking future cookies.

A Deep-Seeded Attitude . . .

When I joined Allstate Insurance in 1965 I was indoctrinated with techniques on how to treat Consumers and service providers (body shops, attorneys, etc) who would challenge my efforts. A full preparedness for dis-respecting challengers permeated every aspect of my professional life. Those adjusters who would attempt to deviate from their expected conduct were, themselves, treated with dis-respect. We've even heard about one Allstate adjuster whose cell phone records are monitored to make sure they have made every possible attempt to locate salvage parts for Consumers' vehicles. Speaking as an adjuster, this close monitoring represents not only dis-respect, but a flagrant dis-Trust of even their own employees. Some insurance companies don't care who they abuse !

Same Old ~ Same Old . . .

Allstate's callous dis-respect for the interests of others was driven home yet again this past week.

We participate in an on-line discussion board frequented by pro-Consumer types. On June 12th, an anonymous post was made by "April". The title of the post was "Get lives . . . all of you". This person represented themselves as being an Allstate adjuster. While not confirmed as such, the arrogant attitude reflected in that post rang true to this former Allstate adjuster. We will not quote that post here. To read it for yourself, go on-line to . . .

http://www.autobodyforum.com/cgi-bin/open_discussion.pl?read=6748

Time for some R-E-S-P-E-C-T . . .

Happy to say, my tenure at Allstate lasted less than five years. I got a life. I went on to work for other insurance companies and eventually opened my own independent adjusting agency which allowed me to represent a vast number of different insurance companies. I can honestly say there are some insurance companies out there that treat Consumers with R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Those companies provide a higher level of service, control their severity, control their administrative costs, make a profit, still compete favorably on a premium level and provide a positive work environment for their employees . . . R-E-S-P-E-C-T . . . W-O-R-K-S ! ! !

Who Do You Trust ? ? ?

We wish we could suggest an insurance company that would R-E-S-P-E-C-T consumers uniformly throughout the country. However, this is not yet possible. We're still looking.

Even some insurance companies with abusive reputations have claims offices in isolated geographical areas that might provide good service.

For that reason, we suggest consumers contact Local Body Shops listed on the I-Can web site. Seek their advice about insurance companies in their local area.

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The Insurance Consumer Advocate Network is an InterNet based consumer advocacy effort designed to Increase Consumer Awareness as to Insurance Related Issues, Encourage Consumer Involvement with Insurance Related Efforts and Facilitate Consumer Contact with Pro-Consumer Entities.

The InterNet web site for the Insurance Consumer Advocate Network is www.iCan2000.com.

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