Dr. Roy Spencer notes:
Allstate Should Pull this Ad and Apologize for Misleading the Public
I’ve been meaning to comment about this TV ad for Allstate insurance, which enraged me the first time I saw it. Allstate knows better (the insurance business deals with probability and statistics) and they knew this was a lie when they put the ad together:
In the ad, actor Dennis Haysbert says:
“A once-in-500-year storm should happen once every 500 years, right? The fact is, there have been 26 in the last decade.”
Setting aside the fact that we don’t have enough statistics to say anything meaningful about what happens over 500 years (hydrologists prefer to stick to 100 years as justified when talking about rare events), Allstate knows very well that such statistics refer to the repeat period for the same location… not for (say) the whole United States. It is not unusual for once-in-100 year weather events to occur more than once, maybe several times, each year somewhere in the U.S.
I consider this false advertising because Allstate knows better, and is purposely misleading the public to make more money
Here is the text of the ad, from AllTVSpots.com
“A once-in-five-hundred year storm should happen every five hundreds years, right? Fact is, there have been twenty six in the last decade. Allstate is adapting. With drones to assess home damage sooner. And if a flying object damages your car, you can snap a photo and get your claim processed in hours, not days. Plus, Allstate can pay your claim in minutes,” Haysbert says while sitting in an armchair on a field and a storm is about to begin. As he mentions the ways Allstate has adapted, the clouds vanish and a rainbow appears behind him. “Now that you know the truth… are you in Good Hands?” Haysbert asks at the end of the spot.
The 500 year storm claim may have come from this article about Hurricane Harvey in the Washington Post: