The Consumer Federation of America issued a new report this month that says the nation’s largest insurance companies use computerized claims systems that can be easily “adjusted” to make “lowball” claim payments to many injured consumers, resulting in payments that are smaller than consumers are entitled to according to their insurance policies!
The primary author of the report is a former longtime insurance executive and an expert on insurance claims’ practices.
This is just another example of the big insurance companies robbing the very people who pay their hard-earned money to have coverage when they need it!
You can read the full report here.
Mark Romano, the Claims Project Director for the Consumer Federation of America, said he hopes the report will be a “wake-up call for consumers and regulators” about Colossus, the dominant claims systems in the marketplace, which is sold by Computer Sciences Corp.
“When CSC and its competitors talk publicly about computer-based claims systems, they stress that the programs allow insurers to more consistently evaluate bodily injury claims,” Romano told the Consumer Federation of America. “Consistency is a legitimate goal, but these companies tell a different story behind closed doors. Software marketing representatives acknowledge that the real reason insurance companies are willing to invest millions in these systems is that they can dial down claims payments to thousands of consumers at a time, regardless of whether these payouts are fair.”
According to the federation, the report also identifies specific techniques that insurers can use to directly and indirectly produce “lowball” claims:
- Directly reduce payments by a predetermined amount across the board, without determining whether this will lead to unjustifiably low payments for individual claims.
- Selectively remove higher-cost claims from data used to determine the acceptable range of payments for particular injuries. This has the effect of lowering payments for all claims of this type.
- Require insurance adjusters without medical training or credentials to second-guess medical professionals by altering injury determinations, thus dictating lower payments for certain injuries.
- Encourage adjusters to downplay or even ignore the likelihood that injured consumers will need future medical treatment or will be permanently impaired, thus lowering payouts.
- Encourage adjusters to determine that drivers are partly at fault for the auto accident that injured them, even when they may not be.
All drivers should download a copy of the report and keep it handy in case they ever have an accident. Know your insurance policy and your rights. Read your policy and be vigilant if you ever have an accident. Educated consumers may be the best defense against these despicable practices!
For drivers in Elmira, Corning and the Twin Tiers — thanks for reading, and stay safe!