chapter 6 – Op-Ed commentary on being in good hands
from this morning’s Times Picayune, DeBerry puts forth a tongue in cheek “you stupid fool” commentary. I love it when Mardi Gras season is thick in the air-also means its that time of the year that parody and satire and irony shines its brightest.
The last laugh may be on Allstate
Friday, January 18, 2008
Stupid you for not understanding something so simple: Allstate Insurance Co. is separate and distinct from Allstate Indemnity Co.
Yeah, the two companies using the name do the same thing — in theory, at least. You pay them money in case something bad happens, and when something bad happens, they pay for the damages.
Some of you, it turns out, had Allstate Insurance Co., and an agent from that company made you an offer you thought you’d be well, stupid, to refuse. That agent buttered you up by telling you what a good customer you’d been, how responsible you’d been with your credit and, most importantly, how you hadn’t filed a claim with Allstate. Given your qualifications, wouldn’t you to like to take a discount Allstate offers such valuable customers?
Did you ask your agent, “Which Allstate?” Come on, ‘fess up, did you?
Did you explicitly ask that agent whether your acceptance of the promised discount would move you outside the reach of Louisiana Revised Statute 22:635.3(C)? Surely you can cite the words therein verbatim. It’s the one-of-a-kind consumer protection law Louisiana has that prevents homeowners with more than a 3-year relationship with an insurance company from being inexplicably dropped.
Oh, I’m sorry, you thought Allstate would act in your best interest. You thought that somebody would have the decency to say to you, “Hey, if you take this discount, you’re making it possible for us to drop your all-important wind and hail coverage.” You thought that since your old information read Allstate and your new information read Allstate that nothing had changed but the cost of the premium.
You didn’t think that any reputable business would lure you with a discount, then yank such coverage from you, forcing you to go buy a far more expensive policy from Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Co.
Let me guess. It was that slogan used by the company (companies?): “You’re in Good Hands with Allstate.” How could a company making such a promise hurt you so?
According to Allstate spokeswoman April Eaton, here’s how: “We have two homeowners insurance companies in Louisiana. A customer in one company may request a change in coverage and apply for a new policy in the other company. There may be benefits to making that switch such as additional discounts, a lower deductible or a lower premium. When a customer requests a move to another company, he or she is choosing to begin a new policy with a new policy number, a new effective date, written on a separate policy form and thus, new tenure of the policy.”
In other words: stupid you, for expecting Louisiana’s consumer protection law to apply if one of our agents uses the bait of a discount to get you to sign on to what we consider a new policy. You should have been more careful.
Officials at the Louisiana Department of Insurance don’t see things the way Allstate does. The department has ordered Allstate to reinstate 17 longtime customers who lost their wind and hail coverage based on Allstate’s interpretation that the customers’ acceptance of a cheaper premium makes them new customers. Since the department made its order, more customers have come forward claiming to have been tricked in identical fashion.
Eaton insists that Allstate hasn’t broken the law. She essentially blames customers who agreed to the switch for falling for the insurance rope-a-dope. Hear her laugh: You fools! You thought you were winning the game by getting a cheaper premium. But watch this maneuver: You’re no longer covered.
Actually, it’s hard to argue with Eaton. You are pretty foolish. Thinking that Allstate Insurance Co. and Allstate Indemnity Co. are one? I mean, come on.
Gentle reader, you might ask yourself, why does swampwoman seem so vested in this issue? You see, I am one of the lucky ones getting fucked over by this mess too.
In the famous words of the immortal Ernie K-Doe, is my curse to the insurance industry