Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bribery: Also Known As Lobbying

The health insurance companies of America are lining up at the doors of Congress to commit legalized bribery like never before. In this time in which Congress and the President are trying to craft some type of health care legislation, insurers want to make certain that their feet are firmly under the table.

America’s Health Insurance Plans, the national association representing nearly 1,300 member companies providing health insurance coverage, reports that it spent $2.4 million just from July through September.

The non-partisan group Center for Responsive Politics reports that some drug companies are also outdoing previous efforts at buying influence. Pfizer has spent $16.3 million lobbying so far in 2009, and Amgen spent $9.2 million so far this year. Those amounts far outpace their 2008 bribes.

So, let’s run a total:

$ 2,400,000
$ 9,200,000

That doesn’t count individual companies like US Healthcare, Aetna, Kaiser Permanente, Humana, United Healthcare or any others. That also doesn’t count October and November.

But remember...there are 435 members of Congress and 100 Senators, one president and one vice president who is also president of the Senate. That totals 537 people. Divide the bribery total above by 537 and you see that each elected official could potentially have received $51,955.00 in contributions just from these lobbyists.

Remember also that the bribery is not done. Remember also that the opponents to this health care bill are also lobbying and bribing.

Even the AARP has spent a mind-boggling $15.1 million in lobbying bribes this year, which is less than they spent in the first three quarters of 2008.

Don’t worry about the insurance companies, though. Their profits are secure, and Congress will NEVER leave them out.


The insurance companies have vast investment portfolios. A big part of their portfolios are government bonds and other government securities. If the insurance companies sold off even 1 or 2 % of their holdings at once, they could cause the bond markets to collapse overnight. Washington knows this and won’t allow it to happen. So, insurers will get pretty much anything they desire.

As the old saying goes...“when money talks, all the bullshi* walks.” Don’t believe ANY headlines that tell you the insurance companies are dithering and worried. They have NO WORRIES.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Best P&C Insurance Companies: How Do You Find The Best?

In 2008, The Department of Insurance of the State of New York released a report showing the 40 P&C insurance companies that had the most complaints. We did an article about this previously. We showed the ten worst companies, the ones that got the most complaints. But we did not feature the ones that got the least number of complaints in New York, a tough insurance market.

Here is the list of New York’s best P&C insurance companies as determined by the least number of complaints, higher number of complaints as you go down the list:

1. Long Island Insurance
2. Infinity Property & Casualty
3. Interboro Mutual
4. Tri-State Consumer Ins. Group
5. American International Group (AIG)
6. Safeco Insurance Group
7. Countrywide Insurance
8. White Mountains Group, OneBeacon, Esurance, Auto One Ins.
9. State Wide Insurance
10. Hannover RE Group, Clarendon National (no longer writing business)

You may find that some of these companies are only local or regional and that you cannot do business with them where you live. But notice that AIG, Safeco, OneBeacon and Esurance are national companies that got fewer complaints.

It’s not as easy to list a Top Ten Best P&C Insurance companies for America. We would have to contact all 50 state Departments of Insurance and find out which insurers had the least complaints. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners presently does not have any such report. In addition, complaints are not the only criteria that should be used to evaluate an insurance company.

Think about this statement, my friends.

The only thing that truly matters about your insurance is what happens when you submit a claim. It doesn’t matter how good your agent is...or if the company sends you a calendar every year...or buys you dinner. It really doesn’t matter if you pay a low premium or a higher premium. Claims handling is EVERYTHING!! Claims are about KEEPING PROMISES. When the insurance companies don’t keep their promises, the complaints pile up!

Lowest premiums are not the only criterion you should use, either. Shopping for insurance is confusing and complicated. Determining if your quotes are “apples and apples” comparisons takes strict attention to detail.

You may need the help of a dedicated, experienced agent to determine your insurance needs and buy the right policy. Still, my recommendation is to shop widely for your insurance needs. Get quotes from captive agents (who only write for one company) and independent agents (who write for multiple companies).

Getting quotes on the internet makes shopping for insurance very easy these days. But look for an insurance quote service that can give you competitive quotes PLUS strategies on submitting insurance claims that will help you collect thousands of dollars more in your claim settlements.

So, which insurance company should you do business with?

1. Choose a company that has an A+ or A rating from the insurance rating services like A.M. Best.
2. Get multiple insurance quotes at least every two years, then choose the company whose policies give you the most coverage for the least money. Don’t worry about company loyalty. The companies don’t care and neither should you.

If you are one of the unfortunate people who experience a loss of any kind, you'll need to know how to handle your insurance claim so that you maximize your recovery. You will need to know how to take control of your insurance claim, and add hundreds or even thousands more dollars to your claim settlement.

Go To:

You can win the insurance game if you have the right information. So go and win!