January 25, 2013

Insurance Companies: Never Deal with Them On Your Own

by Levin & Perconti

If you or your child is harmed during birth, there is a good chance you may be dealing with insurance companies. Any time that one is injured, with or without negligence, there is usually some insurance policy at issue. Unfortunately, many local residents who try to deal with these companies on their own end up getting the short end of the stick with claim offers far below the total cost of their losses. That is why it is critical to visit with an injury lawyer before ever dealing with an insurance company or accepting their offer.

Software Offers “Low Ball” Amounts
The shenanigans of some insurance companies was illustrated in a recent Chicago Tribune article. The story centers on a software program used by Allstate (and other major insurers) known as “Collosus.” This program is a way for the companies to generate automatic claim settlement amounts. It works by allowing an adjuster to input specific details about an accident (including the extent of injuries) with a specific dollar amount generated afterward.

Unfortunately, as you might expect, this system can be “tweaked” by the insurance companies such that the numbers that the program spits out are lower than they otherwise might be. A former claims project manager who worked extensively with Allstate’s Collosus system recently admitted that the company was involved in shady practices in an effort to generate lower than reasonable claim offers.

The “tweaking” occurred both when the software was first acquired by the company and afterward. With 600 “codes” and various modifications that can be made by company officials, the insurance giant was able to modify the program all with an eye toward generating low-ball offers that many unsuspecting consumers accepted, not knowing that the amount did not adequately compensate them for their injuries.

In fact, a groundswell of consumer complaints in 2010 led investigators to look into the practices of the company as they related to Collosus. Eventually, a $10 million settlement was reached with a few states to end the matter. The former employee, however, notes that he was shocked at the low settlement amount as is nothing more than a slap on the wrist to a mega-conglomerate like Allstate. He is working now to raise awareness of the program and hopefully spur change so that insurance software is not manipulated in the future to harm community members.

The lesson from this sad tale is that no one should try to deal with an insurance company on their own. That is especially true following serious accidents with injuries that will costs thousands and thousands of dollars and affect a life for the indefinite future. It is critical that these insurance companies fully consider all the past and future losses suffered by an accident victim when coming up with claim offers.

If they do bring forward a low-ball offer, then a legal advocate can demand fairness. In fact, even working with an attorney often means the difference between a low offer and fair one, because the company knows that if they try to cut corners there is an increased likelihood that the legal team will use the justice system to demand accountability.

See Other Blog Posts:

Bachelor Contest Shares Info on In Utero Injuries

Legal Liability and Maternal Injuries