An $18 Million Message to Nationwide -- Along With Harsh Words From The Judge

A Judge in Pennsylvania has awarded a punitive damage award against Nationwide Ins. Co. for litigating a lawsuit for 16 years regarding a $12,500 dispute.

Harsh words for Nationwide from Judge Jeffrey Sprecher in Pennsylvania will send a broader signal, in my view, than the $18 million that was awarded in punitive damages. Nationwide covered up evidence in a small auto collision matter (a totaled car worth $25,000) and when it was caught red handed, it decided to fight the lawsuit for 16 years.

I often say that insurers are motivated to send messages and engage in bullying to intimidate others, but the judge here said it best: “[Nationwide’s] message is (1) that it is a defense-minded carrier, (2) do not mess with us if you know what is good for you, (3) you cannot run with the big dogs, (4) there is no level playing field to be had in your case, (5) you cannot afford it and what client will pay thousands of dollars to fight this battle? (6) so we can get away with anything we want to, (7) you cannot stop us”

Some people don’t think that we can also send messages back: Hey Nationwide: message sent — and delivered.

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