If you polled personal injury lawyers who handle car accident cases, most would chose Allstate as the “worst of the worst” among insurance companies to deal with on accident claims.
Personally, while I would not put Allstate at the top of my list of insurance companies I want to draw, I certainly would not put them last either. Don’t get me wrong. They are awful and I hate them. We sue them and their insureds all of the time. But we are speaking in relative terms? Who are the worst three insurance companies to deal with in Maryland? They are not on my list.
First, I think their claims adjusters respect good lawyers and good law firms and I think their offers reflect the quality of the counsel involved in the case. Second, if you are patient and willing to go back and forth, I think they will give you less of a low ball final offer than many other insurance companies do.
I also think Allstate claims adjusters, to their credit, are less likely to fold just because a lawsuit is filed. Allstate is going to pay more – as any insurance company is – as the case gets closer to trial but this insurer does not have the reflexive “settlement failed, suit has been filed, let’s now make a decent offer” response that is becoming the new SOP.
This trend seems to be in vogue. A number of insurance companies, most notably GEICO, Progressive, and State Farm (if you are dealing with Team 21 or Team 22 in Maryland), make counsel sue their clients in order to receive a reasonable offer. Their claims adjusters are more likely to come up with something reasonable to settle the claim before suit is filed. That does not mean our lawyers don’t have to file a lot of lawsuits in their cases. But it often makes it a little tougher call for our clients to make.
The bad rap on the “good hands” people is in part because they are big. Insurance companies are inherently reviled – as they should be! — and there is more of Allstate to hate than many other insurance companies: Their claims adjusters receive six million – six million! – car accident, property and bodily injury claims a year, paying out $15 billion in claims. It has a strong market share in Maryland.
As a result of being big, the “good hands” people also get the press. Famously, Allstate claims practices infamously changed in the 90s when Allstate hired the consulting giant McKinsey & Co. to overhaul its claims practices. In a PR screw-up that I bet has cost Allstate millions of dollars, McKinsey used boxing gloves in a slide presentation to Allstate claims representatives to symbolize the Allstate philosophy.
Another piece of advice McKinsey gave, which really resonated with claimants after the advice was implemented, is stalling those claims where the victim did not rollover on settlement. This advice was given 15 years ago but this insurer still uses it in far too many cases today. Its claims adjusters commonly continue to stall and delay to hope to wear down third party claims and often uninsured motorist claims made by its’ own insureds. But, let’s be realistic: every insurance company does this. You just notice this company a little more because they are the elephant in the room.
Another complaint against this insurer in particular is its use of Colossus, a computer system that takes human beings out of the equation and calculates injury settlements based on factors such as the severity of the injury, the age of the victim, and the victim’s accident lawyers’ record of filing suit and taking cases to trial.
Again, lots of insurance companies do the same thing, Allstate just does it a little more famously. Reliance on Colossus took away the fact that Allstate claims adjusters, like juries, are human beings. The computer sees things the way computers tend to do. Juries more fully understand that every accident and every injury is different and there are differences in how worthy the plaintiff may be of compensation. This leads to more lawsuits being filed than need to be.
If you have been injured in an automobile accident in Maryland, and you have a question about your claim, call us at 800-553-8082 or get a free online claim consultation.