In 1995, a part-time actuary for the Alabama Insurance Department achieved what the insurance industry had been trying to accomplish in state legislatures nationwide for years. With the simple stroke of a pen, Alabama became the first state in the nation to approve “forced arbitration” clauses in insurance policies, abolishing policyholders’ rights go to court against insurance companies or insurance agents for payment of their claims - even if the agent stole the policyholder’s money.
Incredibly, this was done behind the back of then Alabama Insurance Commissioner Mickey DeBellis, who did not find out about the practice for two years. He told the Multinational Monitor magazine in 1998 that when he finally saw the clause, “It was one of the worst I’d ever seen in my life. It took every right away from the policyholder. I blew my top.”