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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

You're in Bad Hands with Allstate

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After a heavy heavy rainfall in November, Dane Johnson and Kathy Justin's house cracked and slid off its foundation in Burien. Hundreds of neighbors hand-carried their belongings from the waterfront Burien home to storage in a massive undertaking of neighborhood support.

They bought homeowners' insurance through Allstate, believing that the moniker "you're in good hands" rang true. That Allstate would in fact take care of them. They had paid insurance diligently, on time, every time. They were good homeowners. They knew their house's location placed them at a higher risk, and they paid higher premiums for it.

Now the couple's claim has been denied by their homeowner's insurance agency, Allstate.

Allstate is known for its commercials of "being safe from Mayhem" - a character that slams bricks into windshields, stomps on the brakes to cause rear-end collisions, drops branches and trees on cars, smashes trees into houses, and a host of other dastardly deeds. Allstate's new ad campaign, in essence, is precisely what Johnson and Justin went through.

On November 23rd, a freak stormsurge undercut the basement of Johnson and Justin's house. Allstate didn't send an adjuster until November 30th, and denied the claim almost immediately.

Allstate is denying Johnson and Justin's claim for their destroyed home. Johnson and Justin are core arts community advocates in the Puget Sound region - he works for KUOW, she's a sound and lighting engineer, and both were pivotal to the Burien Art Council formation.

Your company is denying two people who did the right thing, and trusted YOU to do the right thing. They believed you when you said, "You're in good hands with Allstate". They bought your insurance with that in mind. They believed their insurance agents were actually the good guys. They listened to Dennis Haybert calmly explain how Allstate does exactly the right thing, all the time.

And then Allstate denies their claim.

If this does not change, I will personally make it my mission to tell this story to every person I know. I will give this story to people who work for State Farm, for Farmer's Insurance, and GEICO. I will explain to my family and friends and coworkers exactly what Allstate did to people who played exactly by the rules, paid the extra dollars, and still got their claim denied by their insurance agency - who have said routinely that their job is to look out for their clients.

I won't ever buy Allstate insurance of any type; that's certain. However, I would greatly like to notify and report a positive resolution of this story to my contacts within various news agencies, including Lifehacker, Gawker, Gizmodo, the New York Times, CNet, The Seattle Times, The Seattle PI,, The LA Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post, and local and national television news media. I'd also like to be able to report the resolution of this issue to my 35,000+ social and professional network.

At this moment in time, that is not going to happen. What -is- going to happen is a description of exactly what Allstate said they would do when selling an insurance policy, and what they did when that insurance policy was desperately needed during the holiday season.

For more information on the house and the incident, see:

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