Read Your Policy…

August 30, 2007

… and discuss it with your agent. Get things in writing. 

Tunnell joined thousands of people in the U.S. who already knew a secret about the insurance industry: When there’s a disaster, the companies homeowners count on to protect them from financial ruin routinely pay less than what policies promise. Insurers often pay 30-60 percent of the cost of rebuilding a damaged home — even when carriers assure homeowners they’re fully covered, thousands of complaints with state insurance departments and civil court cases show.Paying out less to victims of catastrophes has helped produce record profits. In the past 12 years, insurance company net income has soared — even in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.  

Home Insurers’ Secret Tactics Cheat Fire Victims, Hike Profits  

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Greed and Profits

August 28, 2007

Pattern Of Greed

While the insurance industry enjoys record profits and bulging bank accounts, too many people in the Gulf region are left waiting for the settlements that will help them get back on their feet. As this report relates, the insurance industry has made a practice of collecting billions of dollars from policyholders over the years and then abandoning them in their time of greatest need. </n>

Like Katrina and Rita, victims of other natural disasters, including past hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes have found themselves bullied by the insurance industry into accepting less compensation than they deserved or had their claims rejected for apocryphal reasons, all in an effort to boost the insurance companies’ bottom line. In fact, insurance companies continue to increase their profits, posting a record industry-wide profit for the second year in a row of more than $60 billion in 2006 – an increase of $20 billion from 2005’s record profits.

With all that money handy, the industry still can’t make equitable payments to compensate for the damaged dreams of the people of the Gulf Coast.

Full Report from American Association for Justice (.pdf).

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… And It Is Over.

August 24, 2007

Light Cigarette Suit Snuffed Out by Ill. High Court

“The Illinois Supreme Court has ordered a lower-court judge to stop asking for permission to reopen a failed lawsuit against Philip Morris USA over the company’s light cigarettes, effectively putting an end to the high-profile litigation.

In the 4-2 ruling Wednesday, the high court offered no explanation for the two-paragraph order that Madison County, Ill., Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron stop asking the state’s 5th District Appellate Court whether he has authority to reopen the lawsuit.

‘The court’s action today is entirely predictable because it quickly and quietly closes the book on a case that a majority of this court, I am sure, would rather forget,’ Justice Charles Freeman wrote in dissent.

In March 2003, Byron issued a $10.1 billion judgment against Philip Morris USA, saying the company misled customers into believing they were buying a less harmful cigarette. Philip Morris is a unit of New York-based Altria Group Inc.”

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"I'm Sorry"

August 23, 2007

I have heard about this before and have experienced it as well. I have had several clients telling me: “if only the doctor would recognize his mistake and apologize.” It is good to see that the notion is catching on.

The doctor walked into the hospital room with a discomforting mission. He was there to admit a medical mistake and apologize to his patient, a woman with breast cancer.

The staff had given her the same injection twice by accident, causing her white cell count to soar, said Dr. Divyesh Mehta, chief of oncology at the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center. He recommended she stay in the hospital an extra day or two.

"This is our responsibility, and we are very sorry for it," Mehta said, recalling the conversation.

Doctors try new word: Sorry. — chicagotribune.com

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Just for Laughs

August 16, 2007

How many zeros is that?

An offbeat South Carolina prison inmate has filed a handwritten lawsuit seeking $63 quintillion from Michael Vick.

That’s $63,000,000,000,000,000,000.

Or as Jonathan Lee Riches put it in his handwritten lawsuit, "$63,000,000,000 billion." The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Richmond on July 23.

Riches — who has developed an Internet cult following for his propensity to file strange lawsuits naming multiple diverse defendants — claims that Vick stole his pit bulls and sold them on eBay to "use the proceeds to purchase missiles from the Iran government."

In the complaint, Riches scrawls that "Michael Vick has to stop physically hurting my feelings and dashing my hopes."

Inmate sues Vick for $63,000,000,000,000,000,000 — chicagotribune.com

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Life Expectancy

August 14, 2007

41 nations top U.S. life expectancy

Americans are living longer than ever, but not as long as people in 41 other countries. For decades, the United States has been slipping in international rankings of life expectancy, as other countries improve health care, nutrition and lifestyles. Countries that surpass the United States include Japan, most of Europe and Jordan.

Image

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There is Work to be Done

August 14, 2007

World’s Best Medical Care?

Seven years ago, the World Health Organization made the first major effort to rank the health systems of 191 nations. France and Italy took the top two spots; the United States was a dismal 37th. More recently, the highly regarded Commonwealth Fund has pioneered in comparing the United States with other advanced nations through surveys of patients and doctors and analysis of other data. Its latest report, issued in May, ranked the United States last or next-to-last compared with five other nations — Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom — on most measures of performance, including quality of care and access to it. Other comparative studies also put the United States in a relatively bad light.

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A Guide to Fair Settlement

August 13, 2007

This is a useful website where you can have many questions about what and how to approach a settlement process with an insurance company. Interesting information.

Injury Settlement Guide

Thousands of people end up with less than they deserve for their injury settlement simply because they don’t know how the system works.If you’ve been the victim of a personal injury or accident, you have the right to receive compensation for your damages. But in seeking compensation, you must be careful to avoid the dangers of the legal game.

By knowing your rights and understanding how the system works, you can be sure to get what you lawfully deserve for your injuries.

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