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The Insider: how some insurance companies can rig the system

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published Dec. 2, 2012 in The Post and Courier STORM OF MONEY:  Insider tells how some insurance companies rig the system

by Tony Bartelme
tbartelme@postandcourier.com 

Mark Romano gripped the steering wheel and tried to keep his car from swerving into another commuter on the busy Illinois tollway. “God, please don’t let me hurt someone,” he prayed.

Dizzy again. These bouts of vertigo were barely noticeable at first, but something else was going on now. At night, he would lie in his bed, stare at the ceiling and watch everything twirl. In the morning, the spells came in waves during his commute to Allstate’s national headquarters in suburban Chicago. Stress?
It was December 2007, and Romano was a senior manager at Allstate and its top expert in Colossus, a program that calculates how much a person might be paid for an injury claim. He was in charge of two projects to “tune” and “recalibrate” Colossus, work he knew could affect payments to thousands of people.

Colossus wa…

Bad Faith and Long-Term Care Insurance

Storm of Money: Long-term care insurance troubles BAD FAITH: Insurance claims a nightmare for elderly
by Tony Bartelme

Mattie Jewel Poston’s story begins with a gray file box.

It's a modest plastic container with a sticker of an American flag on the front. Stored inside are folders with receipts and bills that Mattie’s husband, Herman, kept for years: bills for burial insurance, receipts for the long-term care insurance he took out in case they couldn’t take care of each other. “He carried that box everywhere we went,” Poston said one afternoon, sitting in a wheelchair in Heartland’s nursing home in West Ashley. “Insurance was a must; it was so important.”

Like many aging Americans, Mattie and Herman were concerned about the high costs of medical care in the twilight of their lives. Children of the Great Depression, they told their loved ones over and over that they didn’t want to be burdens as they aged. And to make sure, they, along with more than 7 million other peo…

Storm of Money: Hurricanes and Insurance

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Storm Of Money: Hurricanes, Insurance, And The Secret Black Boxes That Set Our Rates
June 05, 2012
By TONY BARTELME The Post and Courier



Some things are certain: As the earth spins, air moves swiftly around the equator, creating the trade winds.
It's also certain that storms will form because the sun shines bright where these trades blow, turning sea water into sky-high clouds of steam that inevitably collapse, a process announced by torrents of rain and thunder.
And we know for sure from history and physics that a few of these air masses will spin counterclockwise, slowly at first, then faster and with enough momentum to flatten cities, alter destinies, and if hooked into some fantastic electric grid, pack enough energy to light every bulb on earth.
Beyond these certainties, hurricanes challenge us with their unknowns. They are so infinitely changeable that it may be mathematically impossible to predict their exact paths more than a few weeks in advance. Because we can't predict …