Taking on the 'dark side' of insurance firms

David Berardinelli can quote from memory the bombastic speech given by corporate raider Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas, in Oliver Stone's 1987 film Wall Street : "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Full Story
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Nick Tremble

Albuquerque, NM

#1 Apr 18, 2009
I was screwed by Farmers Insurance and their incompetent unlicensed adjusters twice after having no claims for 15 years and paying $50,000 in premiums. I filed numerous complaints with the PRC Complaint Division under Eric Serna's watch, and discovered that they are more interested in protecting the insurance companies than consumers. It took a full year, a lawsuit and a complaint about the PRC to the Attorney General to get satisfaction. The same guy at the PRC who ignored my complaints bent over backwards to force an insurance company to pay Eric Serna's daughter $25,000 for a questionable claim.
Nick Tremble

Albuquerque, NM

#2 Apr 18, 2009
Eric Serna was forced to resign and his deputy landed in jail for demanding bribes from insurance companies, and now a sitting PRC commissioner is inicted on eight felony charges along with his father. This is a prime example of the unholy alliance between greedy corporations and corrupt politicians that fleece the taxpayers.
Reality

Sacramento, CA

#3 Apr 18, 2009
Mr. Berardinelli, keep up the good work. I too had the awful experience of paying premiums for years, and then discovering that the insurance company would do everything possible to avoid paying me.
Nick Tremble

Albuquerque, NM

#4 Apr 18, 2009
My experience was that lazy, incompentent out-of-state adjusters refused to perform due diligence and investigate a clearly fraudulent claim. It was less costly to simply pay the claim without investigating, and increase my premiums. I found out later that under Eric Serna's dominion, insurance companies who use unlicensed adjusters could choose to simply "donate" to his Con Alma charity to avoid paying penalties and the PRC would look the other way. Under the law, ratepayers are entitled to arbitration to settle disputes, but the PRC refused to comply with this law. Instead, the insurance company offered a perverted "arbitration" composed of all company employees with the full support and blessing of the PRC. It's this racketeering that finally drove Serna out of office, but the PRC and insurance companies are no less corrupt since he's been gone.
Doinky

Albuquerque, NM

#5 Apr 19, 2009
Health insurance companies are no different: their policies let people die.

Buying insurance is not a solution to ANYTHING except increasing insurance company profits.

Any system that mandates the purchase of insurance simply drives costs to consumers up and the company walks away with the money.
Reality

Sacramento, CA

#6 Apr 19, 2009
Nick Tremble wrote:
I found out later that under Eric Serna's dominion, insurance companies who use unlicensed adjusters could choose to simply "donate" to his Con Alma charity to avoid paying penalties and the PRC would look the other way. Under the law, ratepayers are entitled to arbitration to settle disputes, but the PRC refused to comply with this law. Instead, the insurance company offered a perverted "arbitration" composed of all company employees with the full support and blessing of the PRC. It's this racketeering that finally drove Serna out of office, but the PRC and insurance companies are no less corrupt since he's been gone.
Two more very sad things about this.
1. Serna was driven from office, but otherwise suffered no penalties at all.
2. Everyone knew he was corrupt before he was appointed. That seems to be a qualification for office in New Mexico where we name buildings after felons.
Ed Lopez

Los Alamos, NM

#7 Apr 19, 2009
I remember my father telling me about his home owners insurance policy with Allstate back in 1958 in the
Casa Solana area. A neighbors house who had live several houses away had been broken into and Allstate canceled my fathers policy a couple of days later citing risk factors. This after my father had paid his premiums and had been a long policy holder with the company. He never took out a policy with them ever again and neither will I or my children.
Been There

Toronto, Canada

#8 Apr 19, 2009
Dairyland Insurance is also really bad. A friend of mine works for State Farm as a claims adjuster and says they're one of the best insurance companies, but very expensive.
Ed Lopez

Los Alamos, NM

#9 Apr 19, 2009
One thing is certain, insurance companies never fail. They may get in trouble and face suspensions but they always survive. In my opinion they are the ultimate in organized crime.
Peskime

Portales, NM

#10 Apr 19, 2009
The Insurance Industry is the biggest scam ever and pales in comparison to any Ponzi scheme. My disdain does not stop with the agents of these corporations, who are purveyors of this corrupt industry.
joe

Albuquerque, NM

#11 Apr 19, 2009
Unfortunately for all of us, in my opinion, this is but one example of the out-of-control, answerable to no-body, self-serving, profits above people corporate mind-set in this country ie. rotten at the it's core. it's not wonder the empire is crumbling from within. Where is Nero when you need him?
Thank you Mr. Berardeniili for having the courage to tell it like it is. I'm guessing some of your Jesuit education rubbed off !!

“Liberal Patriot”

Since: Sep 08

Rio Linda, CA

#12 Apr 19, 2009
Very good article. Very good. This is what our elected officials ought to be protecting us against. I had a very bad experience with Allstate a few years back and will not use nor recommend them.

More articles like this ought to be a priority in todays newspapers.
Arthur Lofton

Albuquerque, NM

#13 Apr 19, 2009
David Berardinell got it right. He should be applauded. Thanks in large part to his efforts, Allstate is now the identified problem in an industry which has less regulation than a flea market.
shorty

Albuquerque, NM

#14 Apr 19, 2009
I did not renew my policy with Allstate last year, and chose to go to another agency. The new agency sent Allstate a notice that I had switched agencies as per regulations.

I am now hounded by a collection agency who has devoted countless hours of phone time and mailings threatening me if I don't pay up.

I did exactly what the Allstate papers asked that I do, which was show proof of insurance to them.

I believe in abiding by the law, and doing the right thing, but there are some days I just scratch my ole head wondering how in the heck these folks git out of bed in the morning, knowing that they are taking such advantage of the sod busters...
Myles Horton Lives

Albuquerque, NM

#15 Apr 19, 2009
Thank you, Mr. Berardinelli, and thank you New Mexican for publishing this article. Consumers should run not walk away from Allstate.

This is what much of corporate America is all about. And we want to entrust our health care system to these greedheads?
Katherine Guidry

Albuquerque, NM

#16 Apr 19, 2009
Do you ever wonder why we never hear of organized criminals?? They bought the insurance companies...they now have legalized gambling where they can never lose...after this went on for awhile...they realized they could litterly "fix" the outcome...it did not hurt that the "news" outlets were declining and "news" could be controlled..
I say bring back the importance of investigative reporting and protect "the people"..there are more revelations to come I am sure.
Desperate

Santa Fe, NM

#17 Apr 19, 2009
Mr. Berardinelli - My daughter was in an auto accident in January of 2002. The air bag in her car exploded and his her eye. The retna detatched and she is now blind from her right eye. At the time I had Progressive Insurance. I was told by an attoney in Alb. the State of NEw Mexico is a "stacking" auto policy state. But....Progessive did not offer me that coverage. As a matter of fact I had never heard of that term until this accident. Progessive would not budge. Her surgery's to date have cost approximately 50K. But our policy was 25/50/25. Two other vehicles besides my daughter's were on the same policy. Is there anything I can do? I know it's been 7 years since the accident, but her eye is getting worse and worse and it's because we were never able to afford the necessary care after the remaining balance of the 50K price tag, we're still paying on, and her eye Dr. won't do any more work unless we have the cash to pay.

I hope you can help me. May I call you about this?
Sher

Albuquerque, NM

#19 Apr 19, 2009
I wish the Governor would appoint Berardinelli tot he PRC....we need more like him in NM

Since: Jan 09

Amarillo, TX

#20 Apr 19, 2009
Tom Sharpe and the New Mex should be congratulated for this story. This is exactly the kind of reporting this country needs everywhere to return honest and decent people to control of our government and our corporations.

To David Yount, an Allstate agent, Mike Siemienas, spokesman for Allstate's home office and McKinsey spokeswoman Yolande Daeninck I hope you read this: At first, I was going to launch into some intemperate and inappropriate remarks addressed to you and your businesses. However, I am going to step out from behind my "handle" with this posting and say something brutally harsh but at least professionally phrased.

You can deny, deny and deny. But, as a publisher, editor and reporter, I can make a judgment about your credibility. The fact of the matter is that all of you are corporate liars. Whether you do so as prostitutes or because you do so because you truly believe in what you do is irrelevant. The sooner the public understands this, the better off our country will be. The sooner people like you understand what role you contribute to hurting your fellow citizens and our country's economy, the more likely it will be that you won't be able to look at yourselves in the mirror. If that happens sufficiently, perhaps you will stop doing what you're doing and if enough people do so, we might be able to take a paraphrase from the Vietnam War: "What if they gave a war and nobody came?"

In other words, the more people like you refuse to participate in corporations which behave in treasonous ways toward America and its citizens, the better off this country will be.

Journalists committed to shining the light into the dirty and corrupt souls of American corporations who do what Allstate and McKinsey do have been hobbled by a conspiracy of other large corporations willing to protect their friends. The good and honest news media outlets will resist this and publish stories such as this one. Publishers who stand behind their news organizations as Robin McKinney has done with this story deserve credit and support from their communities.

This Thursday, The Amarillo Independent ( www.amarilloindy.com ) will run a cartoon by Pulitzer prize winning cartoonist Ben Sargent that clearly shows the state of journalism in the United States. I commend you to it.

George Schwarz, owner and publisher
The Amarillo Independent
Amarillo, Texas
Judge Roy Bean

Bloomington, IN

#21 Apr 19, 2009
I dated an actuary once. She was basically an odds maker for a giant bookie. Didn't last. I purposely cut it off 3 days before she had predicted just to throw off the scale.

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