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Retired Allstate claims manager: Quick settlements are based on quick response


Posted on Oct 09, 2007

Retired Allstate claims manager: Quick settlements are based on quick response By Brandon Ortiz bortiz@herald-leader.com A retired Allstate Insurance Co. manager denied allegations that the insurance giant drags out claims to extort unfair settlements from injury victims. Susan Brawner, formerly the market claims manager for Allstate’s now-defunct Lexington claims office, testified for Allstate on Tuesday morning as the company continued its defense in a $1.425 billion civil trial in Fayette Circuit Court. The lawsuit, filed by Geneva Hager of Richmond, claims that the Illinois-based insurer’s claims-handling practices violate Kentucky’s Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act, which requires insurers to investigate claims and promptly make fair settlement offers once liability is reasonably clear. Brawner used to supervise Debbie Niemer, a former Allstate supervisor who has testified for Hager and has accused the insurer of sending injury victims to biased doctors, making invasive medical-records requests, and manipulating data entered into a computer program that estimates the values of claims so that it would produce lower values. Brawner said Allstate’s practices expedited the handling of claims by requiring adjusters to make quick contact with claimants and establish rapport with them. She said she is not aware of any employees manipulating data entered into to Colossus, the computer program that evaluates claims. Brawner said she testified because “I feel like there were a lot of things said by a former manager (Niemer) that I want to refute.” A former Kentucky Court of Appeals judge who reviewed Hager’s claim file for Allstate testified that the insurance company fulfilled its duties under the law. Michael McDonald of Louisville was an appeals court judge from 1980 to 1995. Before that, he was a circuit court judge in Jefferson County. He was elected in 1971. McDonald is to continue testifying Tuesday afternoon.

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