“Delay, Deny, and Defend”

Delay, deny and defend is exactly the motto of the insurance industry, according to a report released on July 9, 2008, by the American Association for Justice (AAJ). “The Ten Worst Insurance Companies in America” report shows amongst the rankings a distinct pattern of insurance industry greed amongst 10 companies that refuse to pay just claims, employ hardball tactics against policyholders, reward executives with extravagant salaries, and raise premiums while hoarding excessive profits.

“While Allstate publicly touts its ‘good hands’ approach, it has instead privately instructed its agents to employ a ‘boxing gloves’ strategy against its policyholders,” said American Association for Justice CEO Jon Haber. “Allstate ducks, bobs and weaves to avoid paying claims to increase its profits.”

Allstate set the standard for insurance company greed and placing profits over policyholders. Allstate contracted with consulting giant McKinsey & Co. in the mid-1990s to systematically force consumers to accept lowball claims or face its “boxing gloves,” an aggressive strategy designed to deny claims at any cost. One Allstate employee reported that supervisors told agents to lie and blame fires on arson, and in turn, were rewarded with portable fringes.

Thousands of court documents, materials uncovered from litigation and discovery, testimony, complaints filed with state insurance departments, SEC and FBI records and news accounts were reviewed to compile the rankings and statistics. The “Ten Worst Insurance Companies in America” are listed in ranked order: Allstate, Unum, AIG, State Farm, Conseco, WellPoint, Farmers Insurance Group, UnitedHealth, Torchmark, and Liberty Mutual.

Over the last 10 years, the property/casualty and life/health insurance industries have each enjoyed annual profits exceeding $30 billion. The insurance industry takes in over $1 trillion in assets, more than the GDPs of all but two countries. The CEOs of the top 10 property/casualty firms earned an average of $8.9 million of 2007. The CEOs of the top 10 life/health insurance earned an average of $9.1 million, while the median insurance CEO’s cash compensation is $1.6 million per year, leading all industries.