If you are insured with Allstate you may not be in “good hands”. A research study released on July 9, 2008 by the American Association of Justice listed the major national carrier as the worst of the worst in dealing fairly with consumers. After researching thousands of court documents, complaints filed with state insurance commissioners, SEC and FBI records and newspaper articles, the study compiled statistics that ranked Allstate as the worst of the worst. Allstate, infamous for its policy of “delay, deny and defend” instituted in the 1990s to force people to go to court by offering low ball offers on claims, appears to put its own profit above all else, including its own customers. While the company enjoyed record profits, it increased premiums. The hardball tactics the company employed with anyone making a claim came to be known as Allstate’s boxing gloves program. In other words, you either accept a “low ball” offer on your claim or you face the full power and resources of Allstate. Several other major companies, apparently seeing the record profits reaped in by denying claims at any cost, hopped on board. State Farm, AIG, Farmers and UNUM join the list of top ten worst companies for consumers. The programs sure have been good for CEO salaries though. Granted the US insurance industry has estimated profits of one trillion a year and 3.8 trillion in assets (more than the GDP of every nation in the world but two), but the median salary for CEOs leads all other industries in the country with average compensation of the top ten at around 8.9 million a year. Examples of the dirty deeds include blaming all house fires on arson to deny homeowner claims, free refrigerators to agents who deny the most claims and company funded parties for agents that meet low claims payment goals. The world’s largest insurance company, AIG, referred to as “the new Enron,” engaged in massive corporate fraud and claims abuses. In 2006, the company paid $1.6 billion to settle a list of charges brought by government regulators. Conseco, a company that sells long-term care insurance to the elderly had some of the worst behavior. An example was the company’s policy of making it so hard to make a claim that people either died or gave up. Former Conseco executives were fined when they admitted to filing false financial statements. For a full copy of the study, visit: http://www.justice.org/docs/TenWorstInsuranceCompanies.pdf.