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Vol. 3, Iss. 12
August 20, 2014

Not Penny-Wise For The Insurance Industry

Every once in a while you see a story in the news about some guy, who is ticked-off at a traffic ticket or some other municipal fine, and shows up to pay it with all pennies. These stories have become common enough that I wonder why they are even stories anymore.

So when I saw the headline “Insurer Pays Off Lawsuit With Thousands In Coins” my first reaction was ho hum. Gee, some guy is annoyed with his insurance company about something and made payment with coins. But then I read the headline again, this time more closely, and saw that it wasn’t the usual story. It was an insurance company, not some guy, that was the one doing the paying with coins. Huh? An insurance company did this?

According to an August 6 Associated Press story, Adriana Insurance Services, a Rancho Cucamonga, California-based company, settled a 2012 suit with 76 year-old Andres Carrasco of Los Angeles, by dropping off buckets full of thousands of quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies – perhaps totaling $20,000. The story does not provide any details about the suit and Adriana’s attorney had not immediately returned a call seeking comment. Mr. Carrasco’s attorney said that he refused to accept the delivery because he couldn’t verify the amount in the buckets. Cash was paid the next day when he was in court.

Obviously there was some bad blood here. The story also reported that Mr. Carrasco alleged that, during an argument over why the company had cancelled his auto insurance, an agent assaulted him by physically removing him from the office.

As you would expect, the AP story was reported on tons of websites. If you look at the comments sections on some of the sites you’ll see, not surprisingly, that public reaction was quite negative -- toward both Adriana Insurance Services and the insurance industry in general.

Regardless of how contentious the dispute between Adriana and Carrasco may have been, nothing, and I mean nothing, justified this bone-headed move by Adriana. These types of incidents are just one-offs, and not reflective of the entire insurance industry, but nonetheless have the effect of painting with a broad brush and tarnishing all insurers.

Yo, Adriana, what were you thinking?


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