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K. Lindsay Rakers
K. Lindsay Rakers
Attorney • (314) 588-8500

Insurance Companies Manipulate Computer Systems to Victimize the Injured

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You have already been injured in a car accident or on a dangerous property due to someone else's negligent actions. You are likely unable to work, struggling to help your family with day-to-day activities and now the medical bills are piling up. Then the insurance adjuster for the bozo who flipped your world upside down calls you. She says she is there to help and just needs "a little bit of information". But months and months go by and it becomes clear that this lady isn't your friend, she isn't there to help, she is simply there to get rid of your claim, and you, and move on to her next task.

The Consumer Federation of America (Mark Romano, the Director of Insurance Claims Projects and J. Robert Hunder, Director of Insurance) recently issued a piece regarding insurance claims practices entitled "Low Ball: An Insider's Look at How Some Insurers Can Manipulate Computerized Systems to Broadly Underpay Injury Claims". The article reveals that while about 15 years ago, adjusters actually used their work experience, training and everyday life experiences to evaluate a car accident claim or a slip and fall claim, now most insurance companies have moved to a computer-based system for evaluation. The most used car accident injury and fall injury evaluation software is Colossus, sold by Computer Sciences Corporation. Other injury claims evaluation software include Mitchell IQ, Claims Outcome Advisor, and Mitchell DecisionPoint.

How does it work? The program firsts asks the insurance company (Allstate, State Farm, Farmers, Progressive, Safe Auto) to identify experienced adjusters. The program then asks these selected folks to reach a consensus of the value of various claims – these are used as benchmarks. So, of course, your claim is valued, in part, on random adjusters who the insurance companies think are good. Then the insurance company enters in past settled injury claims to use as a further guideline. The Colossus program then takes these entered past injury claims and creates recommendations for future valuations in various injury groups. So yes, your personal injury claim is then compared against someone else's – a claim that may be 15 years old, may be someone who is 25 years older than you, someone who doesn't do the kind of work you do, someone who doesn't have your medical history.

It gets worse. If the insurance company doesn't like this selected "proposed" settlement range because it looks like it will cost the insurance company more money than they want to spend, the insurer simply adjusts the software until it spits out numbers that they are happy with! This is just the tip of the iceberg folks. If you want to learn more about how insurance companies continue to manipulate the system by tweaking software, read the full article. Your injury claim should be based upon what you have been through, the harms and losses that you have suffered – not by what the computer "thinks".

Lindsay Rakers, an Illinois and Missouri injury attorney, The Bully for the Bullied.