Insurance companies change their internal guidelines like I change clothes. But seriously. Keri accuses me of creating more laundry in a day than our 3 kids do in a week. The last time I pulled up at my dry cleaner, there was an intervention banner hanging on the wall in anticipation of my arrival. He told me I have a problem. Insurance companies and the way they handle claims are a constantly changing landscape. An insurer like Liberty Mutual, who used to use independent adjusters and cared about JD Power and Associate awards has turned into the mangy dog of claim handling in an instant. That did, in fact, happen. Regardless, everybody deserves a second chance, so at our clients’ request, here is a list as of November 2020 of the insurers who are literally just the worst (in our learned opinion). Avoid like the plague, unsubscribe, and if your second cousin is an agent for their company, politely decline and buy insurance elsewhere. I promise that avoiding these insurers now will make Thanksgiving with her a lot more pleasant than insuring with them, having to file a claim, and having to hire Friedman & Associates to pick up the pieces.
Here we go.
Liberty Mutual/Safeco – Liberty Mutual is the new “bad kid” on the block, and it feels appropriate to start with them. Whereas they used to use licensed, independent adjusters who are formally educated in insurance and had to pass a rigorous state board exam, they are now using unlicensed “staff adjusters.” Many of these staff adjusters have an infantile understanding of their own insurance policy language at best, and it’s a standard HO-3 that we see almost exclusively. Regardless, they seem to take their duties such as appraisal, claim investigation, and payment for code-compliant repairs as polite suggestions. Yes – I did say claim investigation. They refuse to send anybody out to your home who actually works for their company due to Covid-19, but are more than happy to deny the claim without even completing an actual investigation. Meanwhile your home is getting even more and more damaged – damage that they are more than happy to attribute to “long term damage” or apply special policy limits such as your “limited mold endorsement.” Recently, a claim manager (who isn’t event licensed to practice insurance in our client’s state) had the audacity to say our client’s water damage was the result of mold, and not the other way around. This isn’t even logical gymnastics – this is a complete lack of basic competence, ethics, or both. To make matters worse, there are certain claim expenses that are perfectly reasonable, like paying for a dumpster to hold your demolished roof upfront, that will automatically flag the file for review by upper management. Talk about incentive to pay claims properly – not. When you see Liberty Mutual’s commercials, throw tomatoes at your television and just don’t even consider them to insure your precious investments at this time.
Allstate – Known as “Allsnake” among industry professionals, they have historically been rated the worst insurance company in America. If you are into an insurer who takes a “so sue me” attitude whenever possible, these are your guys. One of our clients recently had a fire loss, and when she provided a contractor’s bid for repair that is below market value for the complete repair, the claim handler literally laughed out loud and told her they would not pay anything additional on her claim beyond the couple thousand they initially paid (which barely covered temporary repairs) regardless of what any contractor was able to document. Big surprise – he is not even licensed to practice insurance, but Georgia’s Insurance Commission feigns impotence to stop the inmates like him from running the asylum. I can’t imagine the level of sociopathy and indifference it takes to laugh at somebody else’s misfortune (the side of this woman’s home literally melted), and perhaps Georgia needs to adopt similar legislation as other states that require “staff adjusters” like this to get a real job.
Noteworthy mentions who may find themselves at the top of the list very soon:
State Farm – Fourth worst insurer in America according to the American Association for Justice