Is State Farm truly the good neighbor they pretend to be in their commercials? Ed Rust, the CEO of State Farm has seen a healthy increase of his compensation to the tune of $9.64 million. State Farm’s profits have quadrupled over the past year from $800 million to $3.2 billion since 2011. Interestingly enough, State Farm has utilized a new strategy over the past year in defending auto claims statewide in Florida.
As my colleagues throughout Florida can attest, State Farm has tightened their purse strings over the past year. In fact, we routinely receive shockingly low offers from State Farm that are disproportionate compared to offers we receive from GEICO, Progressive, Allstate, USAA and other large insurance carriers. My colleagues have confirmed that they are receiving the same low ball take it or leave it offers from State Farm as compared to the other big carriers. An unsubstantiated rumor is that State Farm hired a new litigation Manager for Florida in the past year to eighteen (18) months who has issues strict marching orders to Claims Adjusters on forcing as many cases into litigation as possible. In other words, State Farm’s goal as seen through their actions, is to make the process as cost prohibitive as possible to both the plaintiff and his or her attorney by aggressively fighting all claims. By delaying and defending non-surgical claims, State Farm is likely hoping that injury victims grow frustrated and opt to settle for a low amount Due to frustration and a desire to end the case. Additionally, State Farm is well aware that no personal injury lawyer or law firm can file suit and aggressively litigate every single case.
Insurance carriers retain actuaries (mathematic experts) to determine the percentage of cases that will go into litigation. State Farm’s goal is to wear down plaintiff attorneys by pushing every case as far as possible into litigation and often beyond mediation.
How to counter State Farm
- If you have a good client with a strong character, I recommend filing a lawsuit very early (i.e., within 4-6 weeks of the accident).
- The earlier a lawsuit is filed the sooner a proposal for settlement (PFS) can be filed (90 days after service is obtained on the defendant)
- If you can beat the PFS by 25% at trial (often simply obtaining the medicals), then State Farm or the applicable insurance carrier will be on the hook for all fees and costs incurred after the PFS expires.
What troubles me, is State Farm records incredible profits yet lowballs every last non-surgical claim we have in our office and this holds true with every colleague I have spoken with. It is one thing to aggressively defend claims. However, it is a whole different story to apply this strategy uniformly to a majority of claims statewide.
If you have been physically injured as a result of the negligence exhibited by an individual or corporation, call the injury law attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for a free consultation and case evaluation. If you are experiencing difficulty in dealing with State Farm, do no go at it alone.