Delay, Deny, Defend: Why Insurance Companies Don't Pay Claims and What You Can Do About It
“Insurance is the great protector of the American middle class, but only when it works.” Jay Feinman’s premise is that the property and casualty insurance industry is a profit seeking one that makes the majority of its profits from investment income. This statement is, for the most part, true.
He also suggests that the insurance companies make a vast amount of that investment income by not paying claims on time or denying valid claims with no basis. This is, for the most part, not true.
Feinman, is a distinguished professor of law at Rutgers University’s Camden, New Jersey campus. From his biography on the university’s website, “distinguished” is justified from his awards in education. This reviewer was not able to find mention of his background in insurance.
Here is where the hard part about reviewing this book comes in. If you are a loyal practitioner within the insurance industry, this book will anger you. If you are an opponent to the industry, a personal injury attorney, or one who believes you have been screwed by an insurance company, this book will give you solace. This reviewer, with over 25 years in the industry, could not put this book down and wanted to burn it at the same time. This is a good thing.
Delay, Deny and Defend is not about the current issue of health care and health insurance, but of the other side of the industry, property, and casualty insurance; homeowners, business, automobile, motorcycles, boat; general liability, malpractice insurance, bonds and the like.
Feinman’s apparent main targets are State Farm and Allstate insurance companies. Other companies named include Doctors Company Insurance Group, which is not identified as primarily a medical malpractice insurer; GEICO; and Shelter Insurance Company.
The general research is excellent, as it should be from a “distinguished professor.” However, the arguments are notably one sided and sometimes not complete. Perhaps this is because a book that praises the insurance industry would likely not sell.
For example, Feinman refers to a case titled Hensley v. Shelter Mutual Insurance (210 S.W. 2d 455[Mo. App. 2007]). The premise of the original case concerned a denial and delay of paying the claim. However, the case to which Feinman refers concerns not the arson, but determining the proper attorney and court fees to be paid. The claim had been paid based on a court’s declaratory judge concerning faulty evidence provided by an independent claims adjuster.
Chapter 11, “How consumers can respond to Delay, Deny, Defend” attempts to soften the blow of the text, making two opening statements. First, the insurance company is not your friend and the insured is in a business arrangement with the insurer. Second, the insurance company is not your enemy, either. Both are true, and Feinman does lead the reader to some good websites for rating and comparing insurers. He also leads the reader to sites that are known anti-insurance websites such as badfaithinsurance.org.
If you are a lover of disaster stories, buy this book. If you are mad at the insurance company for not paying the claim for your dry cleaning stolen from your car, this book will not help you understand what happened. If you are in the insurance industry, you need this book to understand what the other side thinks.
Otherwise, leave this on your “need not read” list and move on to something more enjoyable, like Aesop’s Fables.
Reviewer David Rosman is an award-winning editor, writer, professional speaker, and college instructor in Communication, Ethics, Business and Politics.