Without the Help of an Accident Lawyer, Insurance Companies in Illinois Have the Upper Hand When Settling Personal Injury Claims
Many people do not realize that insurance companies often utilize claims software when evaluating a potential accident settlement. Claims agents at a number of insurance companies reportedly use a software program called Colossus to assess bodily-injury payments. Motor vehicle insurers like Allstate claim the software program allows injured customers to receive fair payments in a timely manner. According to a former claims project manager for Allstate, Mark Romano, the computer program may be easily manipulated in order to provide lower bodily-injury payments to consumers.
Colossus was reportedly designed to aggregate bodily-injury claims based on severity to determine an appropriate settlement range. Those ranges are allegedly created following a benchmarking session during which past claims payments are evaluated and entered into the program. 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," Romano claims the most expensive injury claims are often omitted from Allstate’s calculations in order to manipulate the software into producing lower settlement offers. According to Romano, such manipulation results in a settlement range that begins about 20 percent lower than the actual value of an injury claim. Romano also stated that many Allstate claims adjusters are encouraged to find that anyone who makes a bodily-injury claim is somehow negligent in an effort to reduce their settlement payment.
In 2005, a number of class-action lawsuits were filed against automobile insurers and Computer Sciences Corporation, the creator of the Colossus program. In the lawsuits, consumers accused insurers of using the software to grossly underpay their injury claims. Four years later, a multi-state investigation into Allstate’s use of Colossus allegedly found that the company’s management team should provide increased oversight for any claims evaluated using the software product. Additionally, the insurer agreed to pay a $10 million settlement in connection with Allstate’s use of the Colossus program on policyholder claims. The settlement was later divided between 40 states, including Illinois. The insurance giant also agreed to warn consumers that it may use the program on any injury claims they may file in the future.
Unfortunately, insurance companies in Illinois and elsewhere normally seek to pay as little as possible on personal injury claims. Too often, insurers offer those who were hurt in a traffic accident much less than their claim is actually worth. In addition, insurers have sophisticated computer software and a team of attorneys on their side. You shouldn't have to go up against automobile insurance companies alone. In order to protect your rights, you should contact a skilled personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after any car or other accident.
If you were hurt or a loved one was killed in an unexpected traffic crash, do not hesitate to contact the experienced attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. Our hardworking Chicago car accident lawyers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist you with your personal injury case. For a free consultation with a committed personal injury attorney, call Abels & Annes, P.C. at (312) 475-9596 today.
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Former Allstate claims manager offers insight into computerized auto injury payouts, by Becky Yerak, Chicago Tribune (premium content)
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