I just finished reading a book about a lawyer who spent a good part of his life fighting one of the biggest insurance companies in the world, Allstate. We all know Allstate from the commercials, you are in good hands with Allstate. The author of this book, David Berardinelli is a lawyer who decided to take on the fight against one of the biggest insurance companies in the world and his story is fascinating. It starts out explaining how the big executives at Allstate wanted to keep more profits for themselves so decided to hire one of the most famous consulting firms called McKinsey and Company. Allstate used to fairly evaluate bodily injury claims on a case by case basis. But, Mckinsey said “no”, this is not fair to your bottom line, your profits and your shareholders. Forget your policy holders who pay you premiums each month, you owe it to yourself to make more and more money. They developed the “Greed is Good” slogan.
According to McKinsey, “greed is good” and you, Allstate need to be more greedy and stingy and unfair when dealing with personal injury claims. One of the basic, long standing principles of law is that insurance companies owe a duty of good faith and fair dealing towards all settlements involving their policyholders. What happened to this long standing rule of law? McKinsey told Allstate to forget about this and deal with every legitimate claim like it is a personal affront to your bottom line and profit making potential.
It is very true that insurance companies make billions of dollars in profit every year. How? They take money from the public to insure us against disasters, car accidents, homeowner claims, fire, etc. What do they do with this money? Instead of safeguarding for the public when accidents and disasters happen, they basically try to make more and more profit for themselves. It is the biggest scam in America. Insurance companies have developed software programs to significantly downgrade personal injuries and pay out the least amount possible while keeping the insurance company profit soaring. For example, the executives all the way down to the entry level claim’s adjuster is given incentives to deny legitimate claims and delay and decrease their true values. The claim’s adjusters know that if they can keep an injured victim away from hiring a lawyer to help them, then they can offer these poor people, pennies on the dollar.
I find that the insurance companies are offering people $1,000 or $1,500 dollars to people who are injured in an accident. They offer this money in the first few days or week after the accident, knowing that these victims are injured, or have sought medical care and knowing that if they can get them to settle right away without knowing the full extent of their injuries, then the insurance company can save a lot of money. How much profit do these insurers need anyway? They are already making billions of dollars in profit and paying out claims at reduced rates based on incentives to their employees. This is a direct conflict of interest with the policyholder who faithfully pays premiums thinking that the insurer who they pay will be on their side when disaster strikes.
On the contrary, when disaster strikes, the insurance company looks at you like you are the new “enemy”. You are trying to take money out of their profit margin! Shame on you. Shame on you for wanting compensation for your injuries from an at fault party. I hear time and time again from insurance adjusters that your client could not have been hurt in that car accident….there was not enough damage done to the car. What does that really have to do with anything??? The amount of damage done to someone’s car during a traffic accident does not equate to no damage to your body. I have seen cases where cars were destroyed, a total loss yet the person was not injured at all. Then, I have seen cases with very low property damage, like rear enders with $100 in damage to the car, yet the person suffers a severe whiplash injury which bothers them for their whole lives. It is like the princess who felt the pea under her mattress. When you have a permanent soft tissue injury, it is like you are walking around your whole life with a stone in your shoe. There is really no cure for these type of ligament injuries, and you will suffer your whole life to varying degrees.
Some people are able to handle pain better than other people. Your amount of pain or damages should not be based on some baseless computer software program. All the insurance companies nowadays use some sort of invalid computer software to determine the value of your injuries. They have tried to take the human element out of evaluating injury claims by placing the value of your claim inside the “brain” of a computer (which is basically someone unqualified who came up with the parameters of this type of injury evaluation software). The problem with this software is that it is based upon different adjusters in different companies properly coding and registering the different injuries and medical bills. This is almost impossible to try to coordinate across a broad spectrum. Every person is different, every accident is factually different and certainly, everyone suffers and sustains totally different injuries. So, how on earth can an insurance company evaluate your injuries with computer software? It is improper, unethical and simply unfair.
Thus, injured victims start off from the very beginning on an unfair playing field. They are nicely told by their insurance company to wait and we can offer you a good and fair settlement in a few months, when your injuries are better. They are “buttering” you up for their final lowball offer. After you have spent a few months going to the doctor or treating with a chiropractor or physical therapist, the insurance company will send you a letter saying how sorry they are to see you struggling and sorry that you are injured, …..etc. They are just trying to kill time so that you get more and more desperate and will settle your case without an attorney for a low settlement amount. Your medical bills pile up, you start getting bill collection notices fro the Hospital or ambulance service and you start thinking, oh no… my credit is now going to get ruined!
After the insurance company plays this waiting game, waiting for you to become more desperate, they may offer you a little more money, say $2,000 to settle your claim in full. At this point, you are so tired and frustrated that you are tempted and may say “yes”, just send me the money. They know that if they can send you $2,000, then they can save a lot of money before you hire an attorney. When an attorney is hired who specializes in personal injury cases, they can usually get 5 times or more money than a normal injured victim. An attorney can truly get injured victims more money and if the insurance company continues to play games, then your attorney can file a lawsuit and possibly get a Jury to award you much more than the insurance company was ever willing to pay out.
Therefore, please do not talk to the insurance company when you are injured. They are not out to protect you like their commercials advertise. They are out to make money and make good business decisions for themselves and their shareholder, not their policy holders who are the injured victims. Buyer beware when it comes to dealing with the claim’s department and remember, even if they are very nice to you, it is because they are trained to act like your best friend so they can eventually offer you a lowball settlement. Please do not fall for these tactics and hire someone like myself or a specialist in personal injury law.