• Report: #66035

Complaint Review: Safeway Insurance

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  • Submitted: Wed, August 20, 2003
  • Updated: Thu, June 23, 2011

  • Reported By:Chicag Illinois
Safeway Insurance
790 Pasquinelli Drive Westmont, Illinois U.S.A.

Safeway Insurance Company ripoff, lying, cheats, who blatantly are getting away with ripping consumers off why is this behavior being tolerated by all states who have issued Safeway a license to operate? Westmont Illinois

*Consumer Suggestion: INSURANCE & LAWSUITS

*Consumer Suggestion: Don't give in, make them pay what they owe you or sue

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My car was hit in the rear on 06-30-03 while my husband was sitting at a red traffic light by a driver insured with Safeway. My husband then reported the accident to a passing police who told them both to go the the police station.

Of course the insured driver by Safeway didn't go. My car received over $4000.00 worth of damage. It took 5 weeks before anyone from Safeway would even talk to me. It took an additional 2 weeks before the adjuster went to see the car, all the while I had to pay for a rental because my husband and myself still need to work and get our children to school.

Then I was informed that they only wanted to pay 75% of the cost to repair the car because it was my husband's fault for being stopped at the red light. Now I am out of $1300 for rental and my car is missing the spoiler because they did not receive the full payment amount.

I am now trying to get my reimbursement for rental. I have reported them to the state but have not heard anything.

I truly don't understand why they are still in business. I don't understand how they can truly take advantage of consumers who have done nothing wrong and they are still in business. Is there a way to stop them from lying, cheating, and totally causing pain to consumers? In the year 2003 why is this behavior being tolerated by all states who have issued Safeway a license to operate?

Letitia
Chicago, Illinois
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/20/2003 04:45 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Safeway-Insurance/Westmont-Illinois-60559/Safeway-Insurance-Company-ripoff-lying-cheats-who-blatantly-are-getting-away-with-rippi-66035. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Suggestion

INSURANCE & LAWSUITS

AUTHOR: Chicago Medallion Management Corp - (USA)

I see as a common complaint that insurance companies take a long time to settle claims & don't pay out 100%.

First off, insurance companies (none of them) are in the business of paying our all claims, fair, equitable or othewise.  They also are not obligated to reimburse you for what YOU paid.  Assuming they DO pay, they pay what THEY feel is a fair payout.  That's the insurance industry.  Bottom line.  For the sub-standard companies (anyone other than Snake Farm or Allsnake), they will absolutely stall as long as they possibly can.  The key is to nag them until you get what you want.  DO NOT wait on them.  They are NOT your friend.  If you don't call them, they have no reason to call you.  They don't WANT to pay you.  Most will find a reason to deny you, whether it's ludicrous or not.

Also, when you are involved in an accident, you are not required to 1) continue to drive with a damaged vehicle OR 2) accept service at a garage the other party's insurance sends you to.  You have the right to fix your vehicle.  Just make sure you get good photos of the damage and it would be a wise idea to have a good relationship with the garage.  That way, they can talk to the insurance company's appraiser knowledgably about why certain repairs had to be done.  Again, this doesn't mean that the other party's insurance will pay out 100%.  Most smaller companies will rarely pay out 100%.  Safeway & Unique are well-known to pay usually about 50% or less of ANY estimate they get.  #2 goes without saying.  Usually, the garages the insurance company wants you to go to are ones they have relationships with that will fix your car the cheapest way they can.  No one wants to go to a high-end garage that gives quality repairs (at least, not the insurance companies!)  However, you can go to any garage you choose. 

One other thing is that the insurance companies always ask for mileage.  DO NOT give it to them.  It is not needed to fix body damage to a car.  They want it because the more mileage on a car means the less they have to pay out.  Got a high-mileage car?  Forget about getting a good price.  Again, the insurance companies (at least some of them) are PAID to be jerks to you.  As much as you want to be paid, they are in the business of finding a reason NOT to pay you.  Insurance adjusters are scrutinised whenever they approve a claim. 

Also, insurance companies rarely answer phones and want to do everything by mail.  It's more non-confrontational that way.  I find it works to call once a day, then twice, then once an hour, then once every half all the way to calling once every ten minutes or once every "whenever I feel like calling" and flooding them until I get what I want.  Again, it comes down to who wants the claim settled.  I promise the insurance company could not possibly care less if your claim is settled.  Many of these sub-standard (as they are referred to in the industry) only have one or two people working anyway.  Not only that, but these companies specialise in insuring those who would not be able to get insurance from the larger companies (high-risk drivers, illegal immigrants, people with no driver's license, low income drivers, etc.)  The insurance company has made the money from your premiums already and most companies have long-term income vessels that the money is placed into.  Unlike publicly held companies such as Snake Farm or Allsnake that have to report their income and where their money is at (which provides a degree of transparency), many of these smaller companies are privately held, so they have NO obligation to report what they do with your money.

NOW, we move on to lawsuits.  First and foremost, filing a report with the Dept. of Insurance for your state does nothing.  They do not investigate claims.  They just keep a record of the complaint, but their job is not to resolve it.  That's what an attorney is for.

Second, there is no such thing as a "pro bono" attorney.  An attorney may do "pro bono" work, but ALL attorneys are obligated to do a certain amount of pro bono each year, usually mandated by the state bar.  Having said that, however, what you do is find a good attorney who specialises in PROPERTY DAMAGE (that is very important; if they do not specialise in property damage cases, you're going to waste your time).

Next, it is important to note that a police report (despite being the Holy Grail for insurance companies) are NOT admissable in court.  When an insurance adjuster makes a ruling, your options are accept it or sue, and they gamble you won't.  If you find a good law firm, they will file for you on a "contingency" basis, meaning you pay their out of pocket expenses and they will take a 1/3 fee from any settlement.

Lastly, no matter what you do or what you have as evidence, with many of these companies you are wrong no matter what.  The way a claim is settled from company to company is not transparent.  A passenger in your car has a "vested interest" in your claim ONLY if they have the same story as you, and their statement is not considered unless their statement is in the favour of the other party.  A police report is not valid unless it's on scene (not a desk report), but only if it favours the other party.  An independent witness may overrule the police on scene if his statement gives the other party a favourable statement.

My experience: I've worked in claims for a taxi company for the past two years with a fleet of over 300 autos and also worked for several different law firms for roughly 10 years prior to coming here.  I deal with every insurance company known to man (and some not known).  As mentioned, Safeway and Unique have the worst reputations (according to the property damage (PD) law firm we have retained to assist in our denied claims.
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#2 Consumer Suggestion

Don't give in, make them pay what they owe you or sue

AUTHOR: Jacqueline - (U.S.A.)

The part where they say it was your husband's fault for being stopped at a "red" light, means their client hit a legally stopped car. They don't have a legal leg to stand on, and have to abide by the law. Cars are supposed to be stopped at "red" lights or they get ticketed. Does this mean they expect your husband to break the law? Is he supposed to run red lights? I hope you have this in writing. If it was a phone conversation, they will FLAT out denight it, because they know it's redicoulus. What does the Police Report say? Save that Police report, if you don't have it, the police department can mail on to you.

All communication with them should be through correspondance, certified, signature required. They will probably lie about everything on the phone. Tell them they have to respond in writing, and automated mass produced letters don't count. Unfortunately, this alleged "corrupt insurance" has been around since 1962, so they either have political pull or sold their soul to the devil. Either way, you should continue to pursue this further. Warn them in your letter that you will seek restitution, within the confines of the law, and with legal advice if necessary. They d**n well better pay 100%! Give them a deadline. Review your legal entitlements as an Illinois resident, to determine your deadline. Add correspondance copies (cc)'s to the bottom of your letter for: 1. Your chosen Pro Bono Attorney, 2. The Federal Trade Commission, 3. Chicago Police (appropriate department), 4. Your insurance company, 5. The car rental business, 6. The auto shop that repaired damages to your car, and ADD to that list, if there is one I forgot to mention.

You may want to consider hiring a "Pro Bono" Attorney. There are quite a few who specialize in automobile accidents. They won't collect their pay, until you collect yours. Their legal fees have to be calculated into your final total, so that you wont lose you intial entitlement. This is a big-ugly-old insurance company.

They take the worst drivers out there. The drivers they take have such crappy records, that when they leave Safeway, NOBODY ELSE WANTS THEM. My point being, this company has enough of a bad reputation that even their clients get black balled. This is to the point that other insurance companies have been taken to court and forced to accept Safeways previous clients.

I found a website with some interesting information you might want to review, when you have the time. The site is called: http://www.worldjustice.com/ They have an extensive list of Class Action Lawsuits filed in the State of Illinois. This is for a group of people who previously had non standard insurance, and then changed. Safeway is on the list of non standard insurances. They claim they are being rejected because of their prior membership with Safeway. It's just an example of what I mentioned in the previous paragraph. I would also suggest looking around this the Rip Off Report further, because this site might have information about a Class Action lawsuit against Safeway, specifically.

There is an archive article you might want to review, if you access: http://www.id.state.az.us/press97/ This archive article states, "Insurance Director Imposes $100,000 Civil Penalty Against Safeway Insurance Company For Violations of Arizona's Non-Cancellation Laws. It might be something your Attorney would appreciate, in the process of representing you in Court.

A "Pro Bono" lawyer commonly gives you an initial 1 hour free. This is when they determine whether you have a case or not. You most definately have a case. They might already know about Safeway's possible reputation. If not, I want to share some contact informtion with you. This type of information could be a benefit to your Attorney.

The address you provided is consistent. Here are some phone/fax/website numbers which might be of use for future litigation. The administrative contact for the domain: safewayinsurance.com is 1-630-850-3822, 1-680-850-3870, or FAX: 1-630-7332, another FAX: 1-630-887-9101.

The Vice President of the corporation is: Mr. William G. Parrillo. Additional company management include: Mr. Robert Fattore, Rep Customer Relations, Ms. Allison K. Hart, Executive Assistant. Your lawyer will need these names in order to issue your Court papers.

The reason they all get away with this is because nobody ever bothers to report them or assert their Rights as American Citizens. Which is why I am also recommending that you report this to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov. They have massive sections of information reserved just for this issue alone, among others. This is not to imply they will jump strait into your case, but no one could accuse you of not going through proper channels.

Hope this helps.
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