Insurance companies don't make money by paying out settlements on insurance claims. When you put it that way, it's easy to understand why the insurance companies are low-balling their settlement claims, whether the claim is brought by a third party or by their own insured.
Insurance companies make money by collecting premiums and holding onto their money. They invest it and make even more money. While insurance adjusters handle your claim, they utilize industry tips and tricks to lowball your settlement. I'm not saying all adjusters and insurance companies engage in such practices. However, when was the last time you ever heard someone say, "The insurance company offered me a really fair deal!" or better yet, "The insurance company was very generous with me." These are statements you will rarely ever hear.
About half of U.S. insurance companies are using software products (one actually called "Collosus") to evaluate claims. They basically plug in your information to get a sense of your case value. These software products utilize tons of historical data to evaluate claims of all kinds using parameters like age, injury claimed, region of the country, type of accident, jury verdicts, etc. However, critics of these software products argue they take the "human" element out of the equation, reducing your personal injury case to a commodity. Truth be told, sometimes I wonder why I'm dealing with an adjuster (a human being) when all they are doing is punching data into a computer. However it is a sad reality nevertheless. No matter how hard you try to explain to them some unique circumstances of your case, your case will simply be lumped in with every other case their computer has analyzed. Many insurance companies will publicly deny they use such software to evaluate cases. After all, why would they?
These software companies compete for insurance company business. They want their software product to be chosen, touting more "accurate" results and more importantly, bigger "savings" for the insurance company. These claims of "savings" by the software companies lead some to conclude that insurance companies are "fine tuning" the software products to produce certain more "favorable" results. Critics note these "adjustments" and "fine tuning" are nothing more than tactics designed to cheat the consumer. My personal feeling is that using historical data, regional differences, age, etc are fine, but if the companies are tweaking their software parameters to produce more conservative and "lowball" settlements, then consumers have even less hope in this "David versus Goliath" scenario.
For more information about Collosus software and similar products, click here for more information.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia, Saugus, Canyon Country, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, Castaic and surrounding communities.