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  • Writer's pictureStotis & Baird

Insurance Company Tricks of the Trade

A recent report produced by the American Association of Justice outlines shady practices used by insurance companies to deny legitimate claims. Lawyers familiar with insurance claims are well aware of these practices. Unfortunately, for many policyholders, these insurance company tricks can come as a surprise. The report also points out that these practices are not just utilized by small unknown insurance companies. The report includes examples of unfair practices by companies like Farmer’s Insurance, State Farm, Nationwide, AIG, Health Net, Anthem Blue Cross and Conseco.

The report describes one situation in which a woman was involved in a catastrophic accident. The insurance policy had an exclusion that denied coverage for “intentional acts.” Using tortured logic, Farmer’s claimed that the collision was not an “accident” and denied responsibility for the injuries. Worse, Farmer’s has even run incentive programs including gift certificates and pizza parties for adjusters who met low payment goals.

Also described in the report are some unethical practices used by insurance companies to improve profits. For example, some insurance companies deliberately delay payment of claims until the claimant dies. Others have a track record for providing health insurance and then rescinding the policies when the patients really need it. Still other companies are increasing premiums on customers with poor credit – regardless of their driving record or payment history with that insurance company.

So, here are six recommendations offered by the AAJ to make sure you don’t get ripped off by an insurance company:

Read Your Policy Carefully

You should know exactly what is covered and how to appeal a denial by your insurance company.

Be Very Careful Filling Out Forms

Even if you make an honest mistake, your insurance company may seize on that as a reason to retroactively deny your coverage.

Do Not Cash a Premium Refund Check

If your insurance company rescinds your insurance, they may send you a refund for the premiums you paid. Cashing it may be interpreted as accepting their decision.

Put Everything in Writing

Calling your insurance company is likely to be a frustrating experience, and you will not be able to prove anything that a company representative tells you over the phone. Keep records of all bills and correspondence.

Contact Your State Insurance Department

They may be able to help you. But they will not represent you in a private matter, so if all else fails, you may need to consult with an attorney.

Do Not Give Up

Insurance companies count on you giving up. Fight for your rights.


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