Do I Need an Attorney? A Question You Should Not Ask Of An Insurance Representative.
December 29, 2010
I came across this website I had saved in my favorites list.This occurred back in 1998.
I trust that Allstate has changed its practices since then, but from what I have seen, I am not sure that may be the case. I have clients who have told me that their adjuster has in fact encouraged them not to seek an attorney because possibly their claim would be resolved faster and why would they want to pay a portion to the attorney who will do nothing? What I have been told is of course hearsay and only third hand, but, nevertheless, given the track record of the major insurance companies in their practices of delaying, denying and defending (the Triple Ds as we call it) I would not be surprised if that sort of practices are still the case.
Allstate’s practices have caused controversy over the last several years in Connecticut and other states. Allstate has been accused of discouraging claimants from engaging lawyers to represent them in claims against the company. The Allstate flier represents that claims are resolved faster if the claimants do not hire lawyers. Ignoring the inherent conflict of interest that exists between Allstate and claimants, Allstate makes a “customer service pledge” promising to treat injured parties as if they are “customers.” Allstate encourages claimants to sign authorizations allowing it to obtain all records related to the claim and promises to conduct a prompt investigation on their behalf so that lawyers are not needed.
What Allstate does not tell claimants is that the purpose of the campaign is to pay out less on claims. Allstate’s own internal training documents contains statistics demonstrating that when lawyers represent claimants, the settlement amounts are two to three times higher than when claimants represent themselves. Allstate employees are rewarded with bonuses based upon the percentage of claims paid to unrepresented claimants.
Allstate trains its representatives with a series of telephone scripts and form letters aimed at convincing claimants to avoid lawyers. Claims reps are taught to speak to claimants with empathy in order to gain their trust and make the claimant feel as if the claims rep will be their advocate, not their adversary, which is the reality of the relationship. The scripts provide legal information to claimants so they can obtain key advice without having to consult lawyers.This practice led to the conclusion reached in five states that Allstate was engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.