Gulf Oil Spill Disaster: The Trigger of American Economic Collapse?

May 16, 2010

This article is written to analyze the potential economic fallout of the Gulf of Mexico oil rig explosion that occurred on April 20, 2010. I maintain that this incident could be the trigger of the American economic collapse. My expertise is in the insurance risk management and claims field. So, let’s look at what is going to happen as this disaster unfolds over time.

The oil drilling platform that burned and sank was drilling a well about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. The derrick, the Deepwater Horizon, is owned by Transocean Ltd., and was leased to British Petroleum (BP). It was connected to the ocean floor by a “riser”…a 5,000 foot pipe that is now kinked like a garden hose. But the leaks are at the sea floor, not in the pipe. If BP, the lessee, cannot close the valve at the mile-deep wellhead, they may have to drill another well to relieve pressure. Some experts estimate that it could take two months to cap the well at the mile-deep ocean floor. And every day, somewhere between 1,000 and 5,000 BARRELS (200,000 to 1 million gallons) of crude oil float to the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.

The leading edge of the oil slick is about to make landfall at the Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi coasts. But there exists the possibility that the oil spill may be caught by the Gulf Stream…the powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic Ocean current that originates in the Gulf of Mexico, exits through the Strait of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

And, we are just about to enter the Hurricane season, which extends from June 1st to November 30th. Any hurricane that enters the Gulf of Mexico will disperse the surface oil to parts unknown. There is no predicting which coastlines could be coated with crude oil. Any Gulf hurricane will impede and stall cleanup efforts as well as vastly expanding the geographic footprint of the spill. Cleanup cost could multiply exponentially.

So, we may be witnessing the humble beginnings of a disaster that could potentially affect the American coastline from Texas to Newfoundland.

Insurance Claims Issues

First Party Claims

There will be a flood of first-party claims, which are claims for direct loss or damage to covered property. But most Commercial Property insurance policies exclude pollution-related losses unless the loss was caused by a “specified cause of loss,” usually named in the policy…and usually confined to occurring on the insured premises.

Tens of thousands of claims will be filed under the Business Income and Extra Expense sections of commercial insurance policies. Untold number of businesses will be adversely affected by the oil spill, such as resort owners, commercial fishermen and shrimpers, coastal rental property owners, seafood wholesalers, most tourist-related business at the seashore, and charter fishermen.

But once again, BI and EE coverage requires direct physical loss to covered property. So, many businesses will be shocked to discover that even though they have Business Interruption insurance, it does not mean that they have a legitimate BI claim.

Even those policyholders that do have acceptable and covered BI claims may be limited in their monetary recovery by the policy language. The period of restoration usually does not include any increased period of time due to the enforcement of any ordinance or law that may require a policyholder to mitigate the effects of, or clean up the pollutants.

So most policyholders will be out of luck by filing claims with their own insurance companies. More on this later.

This denial of coverage will spell the bankruptcy and end of tens of thousands of coastal businesses. The ripple effect from those businesses to their customers and suppliers, as well as the families employed by all parties, will be catastrophic.

Third-Party Claims

Another huge consideration is the certainty of third-party claims. First-party insurers that pay claims related to the oil spill will subrogate (seek recovery) against those parties responsible and liable for the damages. Then consider all of the business that will file third-party claims directly against the parties responsible and liable for the damages. The list will continue to mount over the coming decade or longer. Timing will be crucial in this matter, since many of the responsible parties may have already exhausted their liability coverage and their corporate assets. Lawyers may find that many responsible parties will close their doors, effectively barring recovery.

Post-Katrina Insurance Industry Reality

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, scores of insurance companies paid claims that they had originally denied. Sympathetic courts ordered them to pay claims that were arguably not covered. The same kinds of pressures will be brought to bear on ALL insurance companies in the aftermath of this oil spill disaster. In these kinds of widespread catastrophes, insurers will be required to pay claims that they may not owe simply because they CAN PAY. That takes some of the political pressure off of states and Washington.

Monstrous insurance loss payments can bankrupt insurance companies. But even worse are these politically-motivated claims for which the insurance company had not collected a premium. Do not be surprised to see many insurance companies fold in the wake of this ecological disaster if they are required to settle claims politically. And all insurance companies are backed up by reinsurance companies. The reinsurers will be hit with losses also, adding more ripples throughout the worldwide economy.

Lawsuits

In war, there is an old saying; “Kill them all…let God sort ‘em out.” That is kind of the philosophy of trial lawyers. In giant commercial enterprises such as BP, there will be dozens of entities that are involved…the parent company, subsidiary companies, contractors and suppliers. Trial lawyers customarily target the entities with the deepest pockets…plus everyone else. The lawsuits have already begun, and will name every business entity even remotely connected to the operation of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform. Every entity named in the lawsuits will be forced to defend itself.

And here’s where it gets even more complicated.

Many contracts between businesses and contractors contain a Hold Harmless clause that forces the contractor or vendor to absolve the business from liability, or at least to provide legal defense for the business. Common sense will tell you that subcontractors or vendors will have lower liability limits than the controlling entity, like BP. So lower liability limits will max out quickly.

The lawsuits will continue to be filed, and it will take years of legal wrangling to begin seeing damage awards meted out by all the various courts that will be involved.

Gigantic lawsuits and gigantic jury awards have the very real possibility of bankrupting the companies responsible for this oil spill.

Political Realities

Your Washington politicians have already passed legislation that protects their oil company buddies while exposing Americans to immense cleanup costs and business losses. A law passed in response to the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska makes BP responsible for cleanup costs. But the law sets a $75 million limit on other kinds of non-cleanup damages. So, Federal law limits how much BP has to pay for damages such as lost wages and economic suffering in the Gulf Coast oil spill, despite President Barack Obama’s assurances that taxpayers will not be on the hook.

But the hue and cry from the Gulf Coast will be so great that Washington will feel entirely compelled to swoop in and start writing checks. The Hurricane Katrina/Rita debacle of 2005 is a scab on Washington’s skin that they don’t want torn off. And no Congressman is going to take a position against helping the poor Gulf fishermen and the rest of the populace that makes their living from Gulf and gulf-shore businesses. And despite Obama’s assurances, there is no way that he would refuse to sign a disaster relief law.

All of that means that the Federal Government will print more paper money and go deeper in debt. But printing paper money will hasten hyperinflation. And in order for Washington to go deeper in debt, foreign nations must by American debt securities. Eventually, foreign nations will cease cutting their own throats and say no to Washington.

Tens of thousands of Gulf Coast businesses will cease operations in the months to come. Banks that hold loans and mortgages on those businesses…as well as the loans and mortgages of the employees now thrown out of work…will suffer financial losses. Hundreds of thousands of coastal residences will be unemployed. Cars will be repossessed. Home foreclosures will escalate. Credit card companies will hold uncollectible accounts. Even the local Dairy Queen could suffer economic losses when the surrounding coastal community’s economy collapses.

And we haven’t even left the Gulf of Mexico yet. If the Gulf Stream moves the oil up the Eastern Seaboard, multiply all these predictions by an X factor.

Conclusion

As you see, the economic impact of the oil spill will reach around the world. Companies in the UK will be affected. Likely some insurers at Lloyd’s of London are involved. Reinsurance companies will take hits, which might affect companies in Germany, Switzerland, France and Bermuda. Domestic insurers will likely pay claims due to political pressure. Banks will suffer losses. Businesses will close. Unemployment will spike. Most importantly, it will place crushing pressure on Washington to fix the problem with money…and Washington withstands pressure like a Dixie cup under an elephant’s foot.

Therefore, I submit to you that the April 20th Gulf of Mexico oil disaster could very likely be the trigger of the collapse of the American economy.

© Copyright 2010, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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Contractors Alert: Your Liability Carrier May Start Playing Rough

August 6, 2009

If you are a General Contractor (GC), you most assuredly carry Comprehensive General Liability insurance for your business. If you’ve spent any time reading your policy (fat chance), you may remember that the terms and conditions of the policy require you to protect yourself and your insurer.

Specifically, when you hire sub-contractors, you are supposed to require that the “sub” execute a Hold Harmless agreement as part of the contract, in which the sub agrees to protect the general contractor from liability for acts of which the sub is found legally liable. Further, the sub is supposed to name the general contactor as an Additional Named Insured, which provides a legal defense to the GC. At that point, the GC’s policy becomes excess over the sub’s coverage.

I used to be a General Contractor, and I know GCs pretty well. They, being a somewhat independent bunch, frequently do business with subs on little more than a handshake or a phone call. These subs are people they’ve used repeatedly, and a high level of trust is in place. The idea of getting all that contract paperwork executed before the first hammer is lifted or spade turned is just a pain in the backside. So, it regularly gets ignored.

Unfortunately for GCs, the insurance companies have been taking it in the wallet as they have absorbed liability for the GCs when they fail to get that Hold Harmless in place. So, the risk management efforts that the GCs are supposed to do aren’t getting done. And that has the affect of transferring the risk to the insurance companies.

They get to pay when the GC’s contract fails to contain a Hold Harmless Clause.

They get to pay when the GC doesn’t require his subs to maintain their own insurance.

They get to pay when the GC doesn’t get himself listed as an Additional Named Insured on the sub’s policy.

So, the insurance companies have begun to issue policy endorsements that deny coverage when there is a loss due to the sub’s operations and the GC did not get the Hold Harmless Clause into his contract and proof that the sub named the GC as an Additional Insured. The insurers are figuring that the only way to get the attention of the General Contractors is to put some of the GCs’ assets on the table.

On August 4, 2009, the California Court of Appeals issued the ruling in North American Capacity Ins. Co. v. Claremont Liability Insurance Company. The ruling upheld this Contractors Warranty Endorsement, and stated that the insurance company could take an excess position even if the subcontractor had no insurance, simply because it was their duty to have insurance. Therefore, the endorsement and coverage could proceed AS THOUGH the subcontractor had the coverage in place.

To quote the ruling:

“We find the “clear and explicit” meaning of the contractors warranty endorsements, as used in their “ordinary and popular sense” by a layperson establishes a precondition of coverage as to work done by subcontractors for whom (the GC) failed to secure both a written hold harmless agreement and a certificate of insurance. The trial court therefore did not err in finding the contractors warranty endorsement enforceable under the facts of this case.”

Now that the insurance companies have a favorable court decision in their back pockets, you should expect your insurance carrier to play for keeps. A potential liability claim denial will bring a new discipline to the business life of the General Contractor.


Swimming Pool Safety: Have a Fun and Safe Back Yard Pool

June 23, 2009

Swimming pools are wonderful to own, but danger is built in.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission states that each year, over 300 American children under age 5 drown in swimming pools and spas. 2,000 more have near-drowning incidents. Additionally, hundreds more over age 5 drown each year.

Medical care costs for near-drowning victims are very high. Dealing with brain damage issues can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Then, if that person lives, there are brain damage issues and/or disability for the rest of their lives.

If you are found liable for the injuries or death, you’d better be sure your liability limits are as high as possible. A million-dollar jury verdict against you could ruin your financial life forever.

Don’t allow your home to be the location of a drowning. Take the following precautions to prevent a tragedy.

• Most building codes require a pool to be fenced in. Make sure yours has a fence around it that is at least four feet tall. If your house forms one side of the barrier for the pool, doors leading from the house to the pool should be protected with alarms that sound when the doors are unexpectedly opened.

• Make sure that all your gates are self-closing and self-latching. Latches should be high enough that small children cannot reach them.

• For above-ground pools, steps and ladders to the pool should be secured or removed when the pool is not in use.

• Consider installing a power safety cover, a motor-powered pool cover placed over the water area, to prevent access to the water.

• Have a professional regularly inspect your pool or spa for entrapment or
entanglement hazards. Plainly mark the location of the electrical
cut-off switch for the pool or spa pump.

• Instruct babysitters about potential pool hazards to young children and about the use of protective devices, such as door alarms and latches. Emphasize the need for constant supervision.

• Never leave a child unsupervised near a pool. During social gatherings at or near a pool, appoint a “designated watcher” to protect young children from pool accidents. Adults may take turns being the “watcher.” When adults become preoccupied, children are at risk.

• NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER SWIM ALONE.

• Learn Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Keep rescue equipment and a phone near the pool.

• If a child is missing, look in the pool FIRST! Seconds count when saving a life. 75% of drowning victims are missing for five minutes or less.

• Knowing how to swim doesn’t drown-proof anyone. Accidents can happen, and a small amount of water in the lungs can cause death.

Be safe FIRST, and then you can really enjoy your pool!


Dog Bite Attacks: Six Warning Signs of a Dog Attack

June 18, 2009

Any person who owns a dog is potentially liable for damages if their dog bites another person. Your homeowners liability or business owners liability insurance will defend you from lawsuits attributable to dog bites in some cases.

If you have a dog that has already bitten or injured another person or animal, your insurance company may exclude coverage for subsequent incidents. I’ve even seen insurers cancel or refuse to renew policyholders with dangerous dogs.

This follows the old “First-Bite Rule.” That means that if your dog has never caused injury before, you as the owner are not deemed to be the owner of a dangerous dog. However, after the first bite, you can’t say that anymore.

But what if you don’t own a dog? You must know the common sense issues about dogs and how they behave. That is crucial whether you own a dog or not.

So let me share with you six danger signs that should warn you that a dog attack may be about to occur. If you commit these to memory, you will have a better chance of protecting yourself and your children.

1. A new dog in the house. New adult dogs can be dangerous for the first 60 days or so. In the same manner, a person who is new to a household where a dog lives is in danger of attack for about the first 60 days. Statistics show that 20% of fatal dog attacks involved a new person or a new dog in the same household for two months or less. (new husband, new wife, new step-kids, new girlfriend/boyfriend, new baby)

2. Gender of the dog. Un-neutered male dogs are the most dangerous of all. But any male dog is far more dangerous than a female dog.

3. Breed. The Pit Bull, Chow, Akita and Rottweiler breeds are the most dangerous. Pitt Bulls have the most fatal attacks of any breed.

4. The Pack. The more dogs in the pack, the greater the danger of attack. Dogs that are normally calm and docile can become violent when they are in a pack. The pack mentality is strong in dogs. Statistics show that 39% of the dog attacks in 2008 were by multiple dogs.

5. Dog is his own yard, with no owner present. Dogs are protective and territorial. Don’t go in his yard. Warn your children of the danger of going into a yard where a dog…or multiple dogs…are alone.

6. Dog on a tether or chain. Chaining up a dog is cruelty, and over time, it changes the dog’s personality. Chained dogs committed 9% of fatal attacks in 2008.

Any one of these factors alone is a danger signal. The more factors that exist at the same time, the higher the danger of a dog attack. All of the factors should be avoided at all costs.


Restoration Contractors: Liability Issues That Can Affect YOU!

June 16, 2009

If you are the victim of an insured loss, such as a fire, flood, tornado or hurricane, you will likely have to hire a restoration contractor to complete repairs on your home. However, here is an issue that most property owners never consider…until it’s too late.

That issue is the liability insurance of the restoration contractor. No matter if you are the owner of residential or commercial property, you could have major liability issues in the process of the restoration.

Restoration contractors are customarily general contractors. That means that they manage the work of sub-contractors. They may hire plumbers, framing crews, roofers, electricians, drywall crews, painters and other artisans to complete the work on your property. Many times, the restoration contractor has a crew of workers on his payroll. But, there are some restoration contractors that only act as construction managers.

There’s nothing wrong with that arrangement if the job gets done on time and on budget.

You’ll be entering into a contract with the contractor you choose. In addition, you will be granting authority for your contractor to work on your premises, as well as his sub-contractors. Here is where you must take care to protect yourself.

In the pre-contract process of verifying your chosen contractor’s credentials, you will have required the contractor to provide you with a current copy of his insurance certificate. Take a few minutes and phone the insurance company and confirm that the coverage is in effect, and that the policy dates are correct.

You must insist that the restoration contractor carry General Liability, Completed Operations and Workers Compensation insurance (if he has employees). In addition, you must insist that each sub-contractor furnish the same insurance certificates. The only exception would be a contractor who worked alone and had no employees. That fellow would not need Workers Compensation insurance.

Another very important strategy is to insist that ALL the contractors place you on their insurance policies as an “Additional Named Insured.” That way, if anything were to happen in the course of repairs, such as a worker injury or some other liability issue for which they are liable, THEIR insurance policy would defend and indemnify on your behalf.

This one strategy could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in a lawsuit award, and thousands in legal fees defending the suit.

Don’t leave yourself vulnerable to liability and lawsuits. Use this strategy!


Insurance Appraisal Clause: Resolving an Impasse in Your Claim

March 7, 2009

What if, after all you’ve done, you and your adjuster/insurance
company are at an impasse on the value of your property? It’s now
time to invoke the Appraisal Clause in your insurance policy. The Appraisal Clause is found in all insurance policies, and was designed to establish a procedure to allow disputed amounts to be resolved by disinterested parties. The appraisal clause can be found in every homeowners policy, in every policy covering commercial buildings, in all business policies, as well as in every renters policy…even automobile policies.

The Appraisal Clause is usually found in the policy under the Heading “Conditions”
and/or “What to do after a loss.”

Don’t confuse the Appraisal process with Arbitration. The Appraisal Clause does not bind either party to its findings. In arbitration, the findings of the arbitrator are usually binding on both parties.

The Appraisal Clause is meant to be the method for determining
disputed values. Appraisal cannot be used to determine what is
covered. That is for a court of law to decide. If you have dispute with
the company on whether or not something is covered, then you must
file a lawsuit against your insurer to get that determination.

HERE’S A REALLY IMPORTANT TIP!!! You don’t have
to wait until you’re hopelessly deadlocked with the adjuster or insurance company to invoke the Appraisal Clause. The Appraisal procedure has been invoked more often by insurers, who have greater understanding of the terms and conditions of their policies. But
you, the insured or policyholder, can do it any time.

I’m not suggesting that you become uncooperative. But occasionally, I
talk to people who are having real difficulties with their adjuster or
insurance company. Taking the claim to Appraisal sometimes stops
all the drama.

In my experience as both an appraiser and an umpire, I’ve found that disputes can be resolved more quickly by appraisal than the resolution you might get with litigation. The cost of the appraisal process is also significantly lower that the cost of litigation.

Here’s what the Appraisal Clause reads in my Homeowner
Insurance policy:

“If you and we fail to agree on the amount of loss, either may
demand an appraisal of the loss. In this event, each party will choose
a competent appraiser within 20 days after receiving a written request
from the other. The two appraisers will choose an umpire. If they
cannot agree upon an umpire within 15 days, you or we may request
that the choice be made by a judge of a court of record in the state
where the “residence premises” is located. The appraisers will
separately set the amount of loss. If the appraisers submit an
agreement to us, the amount agreed upon will be the amount of loss.
If they fail to agree, they will submit their differences to the umpire.
A decision agreed to by any two will set the amount of loss.

Each party will:
a. pay its own appraiser, and
b. Bear the other expenses of the appraisal and umpire equally.”

Each party appoints an independent, disinterested appraiser. In past experience, I’ve seen the insured or policyholder try to appoint his own Public Adjuster as the appraiser. This should never be done, as the PA is not a disinterested party.

The appraisers evaluate the loss independently. The appraisers can still negotiate and reach an agreed amount of the damages. But, if they cannot agree, they work together to choose a mutually acceptable umpire. If the two appraisers cannot agree on the selection of an umpire, either side may appeal to the local court for the appointment of someone to serve in that capacity.

An umpire must also be a disinterested party, and must be impartial, of good moral character and possessing a good reputation. He also must be willing to listen. No umpire should be chosen that has any financial interest in the outcome of the appraisal. Any other consideration other than the hourly rate of compensation for the umpire is not acceptable.

Once the umpire has been chosen, the appraisers each present their loss assessment. Often, this involves informal testimony from the parties involved in the claim. To help the umpire gain a more complete understanding of the details of the loss, the appraisers and the umpire sometimes meet at the loss location and review the loss details. The umpire will subsequently provide a written decision to both parties. If any two parties agree to the amount of the loss, that amount becomes the claim amount. However, if one of the parties does not agree, then the case can still be turned over to legal counsel for litigation.

Question: May the insured or insurer reject the other parties’ choice of appraiser?

Answer: In 2005, the New York Department of Insurance issued a ruling on this question as follows:

“Whether an appraiser appointed by either of the parties is competent and disinterested (or “independent”) is a question of fact for a jury and is outside the determination of this Department.”

ANOTHER TIP!! Notice that there are very specific time limits in the Clause. You MAKE SURE that you choose your appraiser and notify the adjuster within the time limit in your policy. The time limit for both appraisers to choose an umpire begins on the day that both sides choose their appraiser.

Watch very carefully to see if the insurance company and/or
adjuster chooses their appraiser within that time limit. If they do not,
they have violated the terms and conditions of their policy.

My recommendation, in the event of an appraisal, is to call a Claims Consultant. You might also consider contacting a public adjusting company in your area. The Claims Consultant or PA know insurance policies, know the Appraisal Clause, and know property values. The Claims Consultant or PA are the perfect choices for helping you prove the values of the property of your claim.


Worst Insurance Companies: The Top Ten Worst Insurance Companies in America

February 18, 2009

In 2008, the American Association for Justice released a 29-page report entitled “The Ten Worst Insurance Companies In America.” The report was the result of a comprehensive investigation of a blizzard of court documents, FBI records, state insurance department complaints and investigations, news stories from around the nation, and testimony and depositions from former insurance agents and adjusters. The final list includes companies that insure cars, homes, disability, health and life.

One thing that the report shows is that Allstate, State Farm and Liberty Mutual all hired famous management consultant McKinsey and Company to study how they could be more profitable. McKinsey came back with a strategy known as “The Three Ds…Deny, Delay and Defend.” All three companies have used this strategy aggressively to boost profits for their shareholders.

To read the report, go to: http://www.justice.org/docs/tenworstinsurancecompanies.pdf

The list is as follows:

10. Liberty Mutual

Not only has Liberty Mutual pulled out of Coastal states like Florida and Louisiana, but also Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland and big parts of New York.

9. Torchmark

A variety of company subsidiaries sell burial insurance, cancer insurance, and life insurance. The company has been accused of selling minority customers higher priced products than white customers. Its sales tactics have attracted frequent lawsuits from regulators and policyholders.

8. United Health

This health insurer has a reputation for health care reimbursement rates that are so low and so delayed that doctors report patient health is at risk.

7. Farmers

Owned by Swiss insurance giant Zurich Insurance, Farmers is consistently near the bottom of homeowners and auto satisfaction surveys conducted by JD Power and Consumer Reports. As an example of their “profits over people” attitude, note that after the 1994 Northridge CA earthquake, Farmers instituted an employee program called “Bring Back a Billion.” This was an effort to save the company a billion dollars in claims settlements.

6. Wellpoint

Wellpoint is the nation’s largest health insurer, covering over 28 million people. They have been found to routinely cancel policies on pregnant women and chronically ill patients. In 2007, the California Department of Insurance assessed a $12.6 million fine against Wellpoint for “serious violations” in their claims procedures. Wellpoint was also sued by 800,000 doctors for underpaying claims.

5. Conseco

Long-term care insurance is Conseco’s forte. And that usually affects the elderly most. Conseco takes advantage of the calendar, knowing that if it waits long enough, many policyholders submitting claims will die before their claim is paid.

4. State Farm

The largest property casualty insurer in America, who has a long reputation for delaying and denying claims. State Farm has recently announced that it has pulled out of the Mississippi and Florida markets entirely. In 1999, after a giant Oklahoma tornado event, homeowners file a class action lawsuit against State Farm, alleging that the insurer widely undervalued homes. The jury ruled that State Farm had acted “recklessly” and “with malice” toward its own policyholders. And don’t get me started on how State Farm acted after Katrina.

3. AIG

The world’s largest insurer has had massive financial problems of late, with the Congress negotiating a Federal bailout of the insurer in Fall 2008. But besides that, AIG has developed a reputation over the years as a company that fights claims aggressively.

2. UNUM

This Chattanooga, TN based company is one of the nation’s leaders in disability insurance. UNUM has a long reputation for delaying and denying claims. If you want to read an infuriating book about this subject, read “Insult to Injury,” by Ray Bourhis. The author is an attorney that took on UNUM in court. UNUM is regularly the target of insurance department and media investigations for their claims handling tactics.

And…drumroll please…the AAJ choice for number one worst insurance company in America is….

1. ALLSTATE

The AAJ stated that the “good hands” of Allstate should be shown inside boxing gloves. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), complaints filed against Allstate were greater in number than most all of its major competitors. After Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana Department of Insurance received over 1,200 complaints against Allstate, which is more than any other company. State Farm had over 700 complaints, and State Farm has the biggest share of the homeowners insurance market in Louisiana. Allstate embraces the McKinsey philosophy, “Delay, Deny and Defend.”

Allstate’s CEO Thomas Wilson summed up the strategies of all the companies when he said, “Our obligation is to earn a return for our shareholders.”