On Friday, April 4, 2008, the District Court of Appeals in the State of Florida decided to uphold the Florida Insurance Commissioner’s suspension of Allstate from selling insurance in the State of Florida. The Insurance Commissioner had suspended Allstate several weeks earlier for refusing to release documents about their claims handling process. The documents were sought in a court case where a judge found Allstate guilty of improperly reducing payments to policyholders with bodily injury claim by up to 20%. The Court of Appeals also ruled that Allstate was engaged in ongoing criminal activity by failing to cooperate with the Office of Insurance Regulation’s investigation of a crime, and that this constituted a danger to the public health, safety or welfare of Florida citizens. As a result of the ruling, Allstate finally relented and released the requested documents. Guess what they showed? How a company deliberately abused people with injury claims. Thousands of consumers who were Allstate policyholders were forced to accept less for their claims. Thousands of people who were injured by drivers insured by Allstate also suffered. Lawyers who handle injury cases have suspected this for years. Even more reprehensible, the documents showed how the company did things to worsen the public’s perception of lawyers and injured people. Allstate wanted to get the public to distrust lawyers. They also wanted people to distrust injured people. They figured this would make anyone who served on a jury more likely to reject someone with an injury claim. The whole thing stinks. Just think, an insurance company engaging in massive nationwide abuse of injured people. At the same time, going across the nation telling state legislators the tort system is broken and we need tort reform to limit the rights of injured people to sue. A large company trying to essentially tamper with juries by making the public distrust lawyers more than they already do and to be suspicious of anyone who claims an injury. All in a very successful effort to make more money for the corporation. Allstate recently reported the largest profits of its 77-year history. It had a record profit of $4.9 billion in 2006 and 4.6 billion in 2007.
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