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Richmond, Virginia

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Michael Phelan
Michael Phelan
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Insurers Cheat Victims-Record Highest Profits Ever

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Anyone who believes the propaganda from the insurance industry and US Chamber of Commerce about trial lawyers driving insurers out of business should read the excellent article posted October 15 on SunHerald.com about home insurers cheating victims while recording record profits. This article shows that the tort reform movement is a fraud. Even in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, property-casualty insurers, which cover damage to homes and cars, reported their highest-ever profit of $73 BILLION last year.

They accomplished this by routinely refusing to pay market prices for damaged or destroyed homes and replacement contents. They use computer programs to cut payouts; they change policy coverage with out explanation; they alter engineering reports (according to one of their own engineers); and they ask their adjusters to lie to customers (according to a former Allstate adjuster). This sleazy practice apparently kicked into high gear in 1992 when Allstate hired a New York consulting firm, McKinsey & Co., to improve profits. State Farm hired McKinsey shortly thereafter. From 1996 to 2006, Allstate’s profits rose 140%. State Farm’s profits doubled. Allstate was advised to stop being the “Good Hands People” and to put on the “Boxing Gloves.” State Farm became the opposite of “Like a Good Neighbor.”

How on earth did our Chamber of Commerce get to the point where its primary purpose is to attack the public’s constitutional right to trial by jury? The answer is the Chamber is the pawn of an industry that has adopted lying, cheating and stealing as its business plan. Just read the SunHerald article.