I've got a couple of underinsured motorist ("UIM") cases pending against State Farm. One of the allegations in the cases is that State Farm denied my clients' claims because they were following a national policy to force claims into court.
Several books have been published about how insurance companies aggressively revamped their claims departments for maximum profit in the mid 1990's, which was a shift away from fairly paying claims. One such book is called Delay, Deny, Defend. The documents showing how this shift was designed call it a "zero sum game," meaning that where the insurance companies win, the insured people must lose. Of course, artificially lowering claim payouts regardless of merit is bad faith on an institutional level.
In connection with my cases, I've done some research on lawsuits involving State Farm in state courts in Arkansas and in federal courts around the country. Here's the chart of the number of State Farm cases in Arkansas over the past 20 years:
The trend holds true generally for national cases involving State Farm:
This case filing information is proof that State Farm has ramped up its litigation department in keeping with the delay, deny, defend strategy used by State Farm and other insurance companies.
These are just cases where State Farm was a named party. State Farm is involved in vastly more cases where State Farm stays in the shadows and defends cases against people who caused accidents. It's difficult to determine which insurance companies are involved in these types of cases, since the Arkansas Administrative Office of the Courts and its federal counterpart, Pacer, don't keep track of the identity of insurance companies in these "third party" cases. This prevents the public from identifying trends about which insurance companies are bogging down court systems across the country.
It sure seems like we need to change our laws to shine more light on these insurance company tactics. At the Chaney Law Firm, we fight to expose bad faith insurance tactics, one case at a time.