May 26, 2017
The American Association for Justice issued a white paper this week about the insurance industry titled "Tricks of the Trade: How Insurance Companies Deny, Delay, Confuse and Refuse." You can find it on the AAJ website here.
I have represented individuals against insurance companies involving denied health, life, disability, personal injury and workers compensation claims on a regular basis for almost 20 years now. In my experience, most of the time insurers adjudicate claims promptly and fairly. But I believe that the last few years the pressure on insurers to cut corners and deal unfairly with their insureds has grown. As a result, I don't think we've seen so many examples of insurance company illegality, bad faith and over-reaching in a long time. Part of the problem is market competition, the fact that unscrupulous practices by some insurers do, or are perceived, as giving them a competitive leg up against their more high minded brothers. Part of the problem is that our political and regulatory environment has, for many years, provided more latitude and less accountabilty when it comes to bad insurance practices. Part of the problem is a relatively passive approach to investigating insurer misbehavior by the media. Part of it is complacency by the public in responding to insurance wrongdoing when it comes to light. I'm sure there are additional reasons for the uptick we've seen in abusive insurer practices. But, I sense the pendulum is about to swing back toward greater oversight and accountability for insurance companies. I'll be glad to see it. We can only stand so many AIGs, Allstates and UnitedHealthcares.
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