Prices too high, too many customer complaints, and fighting claims it should be paying
This year, I put Dairyland Insurance Company as No. 1 on the list our insurance lawyers assembled of the six worst auto insurance companies for 2011. Now, Dairyland hits a new low for “milking” profits from its own customers.
In addition to refusing Michigan No-Fault insurance benefits to its injured customers as when it sends releases for future PIP seven days after automobile accidents, Dairyland Insurance can now add defiantly-ignoring-the-obvious to its repertoire.
Dairyland Insurance contested wage loss benefits – while at the same time proving the auto accident victim was entitled…
In Grays v. Dairyland Insurance Company, et al., the auto insurer ironically contested an auto accident victim’s right to receive wage loss benefits while simultaneously presenting evidence that decisively established the victim’s entitlement to those important No-Fault benefits.
Cassandra Grays suffered second degree burns to 11 percent of her body as a result of an auto accident that occurred on July 31, 2008. Consequently, the burn pain and the need for daily bandage changes prevented her from working as an assistant manager at a Family Dollar Store for 10 days.
Accordingly, Ms. Grays applied to Dairyland Insurance Company — her insurance company — for wage loss benefits under Michigan’s No-Fault Act.
Inexplicably, Dairyland Insurance company opposed Ms. Grays’s claim, insisting there was “no medical documentation supporting” her contention that her burn injuries were the cause for her missing work.
This is baffling, because the evidence that Dairyland presented in support of its argument proved just the opposite of what the insurer was claiming: Dairyland’s evidence confirmed that Ms. Grays was, indeed, entitled to wage loss benefits for her injuries.
In fact, the two-judge majority on the Michigan Court of Appeals seemed a little taken aback by the outrageousness and senselessness of Dairyland’s position:
“Notably, defendants failed to present documentary evidence suggesting that Grays had not sustained a burn injury, or had not missed work. Rather, defendants attached to their motion medical records describing the burn and the treatment prescribed, Grays’s work record demonstrating that she had missed work for 10 days following the burn, and Grays’s deposition testimony substantiating that she could not work for 10 days due to burn pain and the need for daily dressing changes.”
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“[I]nstead of producing evidence contradicting Grays’s claim, defendants submitted documentation of Grays’s burn injury and wage loss, as well as Grays’s deposition testimony connecting the two. Defendants failed to support their summary disposition motion with any evidence refuting Grays’s wage loss claim.”
Duping customers into signing away rights to No-Fault benefits
Shameful as Dairyland’s actions were in terms of causing Ms. Grays to suffer unnecessary grief and anguish — and wasting valuable judicial resources with an obviously meritless argument — the insurer’s actions may not be surprising to those familiar with Dairyland Insurance Company.
In 2010, the auto insurer duped three of its customers into signing away all of their rights to present and future No-Fault benefits, which included their rights to unlimited, lifetime medical benefits. Dairyland pulled this off by confronting its customers within days of their crash and offering cash payments of $2,500 each.
If those customers are three ofthe estimated 1,050 Michigan car crash victims whose accident-related medical bills exceeded $460,000 in 2010, then Dairyland’s bizarre anti-consumer behavior would save the company a fortune (See Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association – Claims Data).
Dairyland Insurance one of the most expensive auto insurance providers in Michigan – and has some of the highest complaints
Additionally, despite a notable track record for being unwilling to pay its customers’ auto claims, Dairyland has demonstrated that it is more than willing to exact and accept significant payments from those same customers. According to the most recent State of Michigan Automobile Insurance Guides, published by the Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR), which is part of the State of Michigan’s Department of Labor and Economic Growth, Dairyland’s auto insurance is one of the most highly priced throughout the state.
Finally, Dairyland is not fooling its customers about the less-than-satisfactory service it is providing. In 2010, Dairyland had the 13th highest complaint ratio among the 78 auto insurance companies doing business in Michigan, according to data compiled by OFIR.
The information above confirms my previous opinion that Dairyland Insurance Company is one of the worst insurance companies in Michigan. Hopefully, this will help consumers shopping for auto insurance when considering if Dairyland Insurance is the kind of insurance company you can trust with your family’s health and welfare, should the need tragically ever arise after an auto accident.
– Steven Gursten is recognized as one of the nation’s top No-Fault lawyers handling serious auto accident cases. He frequently writes about Michigan No-Fault law and is available for comment.
– Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by JelleS
-Related information to protect yourself:
Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm exclusively handling car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights to better serve you. Call (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our No-Fault insurance lawyers.