From an economic standpoint, many people would say no. Cost of fuel, utilities, and food has risen at a greater pace than wages. This is something people experience everyday. However, are you better off from an insurance standpoint than you were eight years ago? You may think that you have the same company, same policy, with the same limits that you had eight years ago. However, those coverages have changed drastically. Insurance companies have changed their policies to eliminate coverage in certain situations and water-down other cov- erages. The Ohio Legislature has passed laws weakening the regulations under which insurance companies have to operate and weakened the laws requiring what coverages insurance companies have to provide. The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled more and more frequently against consumer rights and in favor of the insurance industry. All of this has led to less coverage for those insured and record profits for the insurance industry.
According to a recent report by The American Association of Justice (AAJ) titled, The Ten Worst Insurance Companies in America, insurance companies consistently raise premiums, deny claims, and refuse insurance to those who need it most while profits are skyrocketing. Allstate, #1 on the list, has been accused of delaying claims, denying valid claims or offering lower amounts and defending claims that should have been paid or settled. In fact, according to the report, the amount Allstate paid out in claims dropped from 79 percent of its annual premium income in 1996 to 58 percent in 2006. This is a savings of .21 on every dollar. This drop allowed Allstate to keep an extra $7.7 billion in 2007 based upon its 2007 revenues.
No one stops to think about the impact a significant injury would have upon them, their life, and their ability to pay bills, or pay for medical treatment until the tragedy happens. These changes in your policy, the legislation, and the laws as interpreted by the courts happen everyday and people are oblivious to the matter. While you cannot change the language in your insurance policy, you can determine which legislator and judge will get your vote. Before you vote in the upcoming local and statewide races, I encourage you to find out where the candidate’s interests really lie. A good tell-tale sign is where their campaign financing is coming from. Is it coming from individuals or is it coming from insurance companies or other special interest groups?