Monday, October 20, 2008

You're in Good Hands With Allstate?

Columbus, Ohio. Personal injury lawyer David Bressman reveals some secrets insurance company don't think you will ever find out and, certainly, inside information they don't want you to have.

Having proudly developed and nurtured its reputation as the worst insurance company when dealing with injury claims, now information has come out as to exactly how Allstate "evaluates" its injury claims. For even more insight, go to and read story after story of how this insurance company plows more into putting on nice commercials than it does to pay the truly injured.

Allstate, over the past several years, has implemented scorched earth insurance claim and litigation tactics, which were developed in large measure by McKinsey & Company. Allstate adopted McKinsey's plan and implemented it as "The New Game: 'Good Hands to Boxing Gloves'". The abandonment of the good hands metaphor in favor of the boxing gloves metaphor illustrates Allstate's strategy of confrontation and combat and implementation of intimidation tactics that are designed to bludgeon claimants and claimant attorneys into submission by making pursuit of claims unpleasant, stressful, time consuming and financially, mentally and emotionally expensive and by making claims uneconomic; e.g., incentivizing claimant attorneys to decline "soft tissue" cases and/or settle them cheaply and forcing claimants to drop claims or settle them cheaply.

Attorney David Berardinelli reveals McKinsey/Allstate tactics in his book "From Good Hands to Boxing Gloves: How Allstate Changed Casualty Insurance in America" and reveals the following quotes from McKinsey's materials obtained in an insurance bad faith lawsuit against Allstate:

Page 1426 "Improving Allstate's casualty economics will have a negative impact on medical providers, plaintiff attorneys, and claimants.

Page 1427 "Establishing new market values will require aggressive new litigation strategies."

Page 1609 "Align 'alligators' with 'attorneys.'"

Page 2827 "Objective Keep attorneys out."

Page 2929 "Winning the Economics Game; New plays, New game plan, Changing the rules, New game..."

Page 2932 "Capturing the opportunity will require reducing the number of represented claimants and more agressively managing the claims that do become represented."

Page 2939 "Aggressively manage those cases that become represented through...more aggresive litigation approaches."

Page 2939 "Many plaintiff attorneys yield to more aggressive tactics."

Page 2982 "Claims is an economic game. We will win the economic game."

Page 4216 "The New Game Plan: 'Zero Sum Game'... somebody has to win and somebody has to lose...We want to win by modifying the rules and regulations to our advantage."

Page 5226 "Roll Out: 'Build new evaluation system around Colossus..." [Colossus, a computerized claim valuation software program, will be discussed in a subsequent article.]

Page 5403 "Do not re-evaluate approved settlement amount. Stand firm on final offer with no real negotiation."

Page 6325 "These strategies will include significantly higher levels of litigation to establish lower values."

Page 6449 "Early Test Results Favorable: Test: Targeted: Evaluation '175 files through system, 37 settlements at approximately 50% of historic medians.'"

Page 8028 "Based on the existing levels of performance, the four process steps should ultimately yield between $375 million to $475 million a year in casualty by 1997." [Increased profit due to reduced payment of claims.]

Page 8043 "The first important step is to establish aggressive goals and tie compensation to performance against these goals." [Claim adjuster compensation is tied to limiting/reducing payment of claims.]

Page 10059 "Recommended Attorney Performance Measures: Measure: Results: Percent of cases closed at or below evaluated amount." [In house attorneys are compensated and retained or fired based on limiting/reducing payment of claims.]

Page 10069 "Outside Counsel Compensation Approach: Measure: Deviation from evaluated amount plus expenses; Resulting action: Base fee raised or lowered or Gain or loss of cases or Bonus at end of year." [Outside defense attorneys compensation and continued retention based on limiting/reducing payment of claims.]

Page 11545 "Colossus Training Checklist: Prior to MCO training: - Determine the number of tuning regions, - Complete initial tuning by evaluation consultants; Post training: Verify tuning: - Spot check closed claim study, - Create scatter graphs and calculate payment rates, - Retune as necessary." [Tuning, essentially, means that if the computer spits out numbers that Allstate management thinks is too high, then Allstate will re-program the computer to spit out lower numbers so that Allstate will have higher profits.]

The above quotes come from Litigating Minor Impact Soft Tissue Cases, Koehler, Karen K. and Freeman, Michael D., ATLA Press, Thomson-West, 2005, vol. 1, 2005 supp. pp.67-74 which notes that the quotes are "unverified" in the sense that attorney Berardinelli obtained them while reviewing the McKinsey materials while under a temporary protective order. The court ruled that the McKinsey materials (and thus quotes derived therefrom) were not protected trade secrets. Allstate appealed, but their appeal was dismissed as untimely filed.

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