Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pattern of Greed 2007 Insurers' Profits Over Policyholders

Recently, the American Association for Justice released a report showing that, after natural disasters such as hurricanes, the insurance industry has failed to pay even undisputed, “fair and valid” claims, while raking in profits in excess of $100 billion in two years.

The account is chilling. Here are some excerpts:

"Bob Kochran CEO of an engineering firm assessing Katrina damage for State Farm, said that he was asked to alter reports that the company did not agree with. In order to keep the State Farm contract, Kochran agreed to tell his engineers to "re-evaluate each 0f our assignments." One of the engineers, Randy Down, responded in an email, "I have a serious concern about the ethics 0f this whole matter.I really question the ethics 0f someone who wants to fire us simply because our conclusions don't match theirs." State Farm's attempt to unduly influence the engineers was exposed during litigation in Jackson, Mississippi."

"Mississippi engineer Ken Overstreet similarly claimed that his reports on Katrina damage were altered by the insurance company he worked for on at least four occasions. In a report on the house 0f Mississippians Hubert and Joyce Smith, Overstreet wrote, "The winds out of the east would have racked the entire structure to the west and simply lifted the footings up." However, the report that the Smiths received said, "Due to the extent 0f the structural damage to the residence, the storm surge accounted for the damage." When Overstreet saw the final report he informed the Smiths that the conclusions had been changed. The Smiths' insurance company settled with them in March 2007."

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