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Allstate insures almost as many Georgia drivers as State Farm and handled over 6 million insurance claims last year. Allstate has taken a good deal of heat in the media over the last ten years because of their sometimes aggressive claims handling practices. Several years ago, Anderson Cooper did an excellent piece of investigative reporting where he discussed the effect that consultants have had on modifying the insurer’s approach to claims.
It was apparently felt that a “boxing gloves” approach to claims would deter claims and save the company money. If you listen to the insurer they would tell you that is only for frivolous claims. The problem is that their definition of frivolous extends pretty far. For example in April 2011, we tried a jury trial against Allstate in a moderate impact case where the client had $6,600 worth of medical bills from her primary care doctor and the physical therapist her doctor sent her to. The Allstate adjuster offered less than the medical bills, $6,000 claiming that the physical therapy was too expensive in her opinion. We tried the case to a Gwinnett County jury and the jury returned a verdict for just over $11,500, which was fair for 2 and a half months of physical therapy.
Allstate adjusters in the Atlanta area can be headstrong, especially in non-objective injury cases where they deem the only injury to be “soft tissue.” As someone who has struggled with idiopathic low back pain, I can tell you that I would rather have a broken bone that would heal versus soft tissue pain.
Allstate still uses Colossus, a case evaluation system that is inherently flawed in that it cannot factor in the character and nature of the plaintiff and defendant. (some of the most important factors in whether a jury likes a case or not)
In summary, we find that for fracture, DUI, and high impact cases, our clients stand a decent chance of getting a settlement offer from Allstate in Georgia at the low end of the jury verdict spectrum. For moderate impact or below cases or cases with purely soft tissue type claims, it has been our experience that trial is necessary.
If I had to rank Allstate, I would say they are one of the better evaluators when it comes to concrete, objective tested injuries like fractures, collapsed lungs, etc. When it comes to soft tissue injuries though they linger at the bottom range of valuations along with other front line insurers.