In my experience as an injury lawyer, I have found that insurance companies in Arizona and other states try to payout as little as possible on personal injury claims. Insurance is a business. The less they pay on claims, the bigger their profits. All too often insurance adjusters try to settle claims with accident victims for a much smaller amount than the true value of the injury case. Further, major insurance carriers have high-end computer software, skilled insurance adjusters and tough defense lawyers at work on their behalf.
On the other hand, the average accident victim has no experience, no computer software and no idea what they are doing. Claimants moving forward without dedicated injury lawyers helping them are at a huge disadvantage. I cannot stress how important it is to have counsel fighting for you.
One issue that has been in the news lately is the computer programs that some insurance companies use when evaluating a personal injury claim for settlement. A number of companies and insurance adjusters use a program called Colossus to determine the value of a case. Insurance carriers like Allstate that use the program claim that Colossus enables people hurt in accidents settle their cases in a timely matter for a fair amount of money.
The problem with Colossus is the program can be manipulated, which results in smaller personal injury settlement offers to consumers, according to Mark Romano, a former claims project manager at Allstate. Romano spoke out in a June 2012 report entitled “Low Ball: An Insider’s Look at How Some Insurers Can Manipulate Computerized Systems to Broadly Underpay Injury Claims,”
In theory, Colossus was intended to aggregate claims based on the severity of injuries sustained in accidents. Settlement ranges are determined by entering past injury claim payouts into the system. According to Romano, in order to manipulate the program larger accident settlements were often omitted by Allstate. Romano claims that this omission created a settlement range that was around 20% less than the actual value of each claim. Romano further alleged that Allstate would encourage its insurance adjusters to claim that injury plaintiffs were somehow negligent in accidents. This was done to try to reduce settlement payments.
Computer Sciences Corporation is the company that created the Colossus program. In 2005 they, along with several auto insurance carriers, were hit with a number of class-action lawsuits. In the filings customers alleged that insurance companies were using the program to underpay them on personal injury cases. Several years later an investigation concluded that Allstate needed to use much more oversight when using Colossus to evaluate claims. Further, Allstate agreed to pay out a $10 million settlement due to the manner in which it used the computer program for policyholder claims. Allstate also agreed to inform the public that it may be using Colossus to evaluate personal injury cases in the future.
The above behavior is just another reason you shouldn’t try to take on an insurance company on your own. When insurance adjusters try to minimize your claim, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer fighting to maximize your financial recovery. If you have been injured in an automobile accident, contact the lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. Our dedicated personal injury attorneys are ready to answer your questions 24/7. Call (855) PHX-LAWYER for a free consultation.
Arizona auto accident – 1 dead, 2 injured, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, January 31, 2013
Settlement reached in Phoenix rear-end auto accident case, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, January 28, 2013
Former Allstate claims manager offers insight into computerized auto injury payouts, by Becky Yerak, Chicago Tribune (premium content)
Consumer Group Says Auto Insurers ‘Lowball’ Injury Payments with Computerized Systems, Insurance Journal, June 7, 2012