October 2, 2015 by Alan Prochoroff
Eighty-nine is a ripe old age to live to, a pretty good mark in high school and a terrible error rate for an insurer’s new auto business. And it doesn’t get better for three Allstate companies in the U.S.—the report on the Virginia market conduct exam found they also had an 80 percent error rate for auto renewal business, plus error rates in the mid-’50s for cancellations and claims.
Allstate also used incorrect auto rates in 139 instances, failed to send auto cancellation notices to the right address three times, and cancelled home policies four times for reasons not approved by the statute.
In terms of claims, examiners looked at 119 automobile claims and discovered 38 instances in which the company failed to document the incident sufficiently to allow examiners to reconstruct the events of the incident. The report said that was found “with such frequency as to indicate a general business practice.”
Allstate was also cited on at least 56 occasions for obscuring or concealing benefits, coverage or other pertinent provisions of an insurance policy from a first-party claimant. In one instance, it didn’t tell a policyholder about the medical coverage he was entitled to, and in another eight claims, Allstate failed to tell policyholders it was obligated to pay.
Examiners also charged Allstate with misrepresenting pertinent facts of a claim on six occasions, but the company said that one case involved using a daily rate as the basis for paying for a rental car. Allstate said that isn’t prohibited by statute, which says such a rate must equate to a comparable substitute.
In response to a second write-up about not paying for unreasonable repair delays, Allstate said its policy language says, “Our payment will be limited to that period of time reasonably required to repair or replace your covered auto.”
“The company did not indicate that the customer would be responsible for any shop delays, only those that were unreasonable,” Allstate said. “Therefore, the statement is not misleading nor does it misrepresent pertinent facts of the claim or applicable policy provisions.”
The company argued that a third write-up should be dismissed because the claimant’s vehicle—even though a total loss because of the cost of the repair—could be safely driven after the accident.
The three companies have paid a $172,500 fine and $24,701 in restitution.
This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.