150,000 pages later, attorneys in Louisiana are still looking for McKinsey documents that describe Allstate’s process for handling catastrophe claims, according to this recent story from Rebecca Mowbray at the Times Picayune.
The 150,000 pages of documents that Allstate Corp. posted on its Web site in response to a growing public relations storm contain mind-numbing documents on processing auto insurance and homeowners claims, but nothing about the issue that is most important to people hit by hurricanes Katrina and Rita: how the company handles catastrophe claims.
We haven’t seen any ‘cat’ documents,” said New Orleans lawyer Paul Miniclier. “There are many missing documents.”
Plaintiffs’ attorneys in New Orleans… have spent hours over the last week clicking through the documents in hopes of finding material that will help their clients, and they have concluded that the posting is an idle attempt by Allstate to show that it has nothing to hide.
Miniclier…said that trial lawyers know the catastrophe claims analysis documents exist, because in a Florida deposition, Toni Boyd, a former Allstate employee, testified that the next phase of implementing McKinsey’s recommendations involved streamlining catastrophe claims handling…he believes Allstate omitted those documents because of pending litigation on the Gulf Coast. “We are endeavoring to produce those documents,” he said of upcoming cases in state court….
Allstate spokesman Mike Siemienas said catastrophes were not a focus of McKinsey’s work because the catastrophe team wasn’t founded until 1996, but Allstate’s reviews are ongoing. “We continually review how we respond to catastrophes. Allstate strives to continually improve its response to catastrophic events,” Siemienas said.
Since Allstate has claimed the documents were trade secrets for years prior to posting them on the web, the logical question is what’s next. Morbray ends her story with quotes from two different schools of thought .
Soren Gisleson, head of the insurance section at the Louisiana Association for Justice, suspects that federal judges won’t force Allstate to produce the McKinsey documents…
“We can show that there are massive amounts of data that Allstate had and could have given us,” said Johnny Denenea, who worked the first hurricane case that went to a jury in federal court, Weiss v. Allstate. “This whole proprietary trade secret thing must have been a farce.”
Watch for a reaction from Florida.