In the old days, I mean the 1980s and 90s claims examiners were human beings with human brains, judgment a sometimes heart. While heart is good for image, heart can cut into profits.
Insurers have found the solution. First, use cute mascots and cool commercials to trick consumers into believing the insurer “cares”. Then, behind the scenes, have soulless computers coldly calculate an injured person’s stamina to litigate and make low ball offers accordingly. Despite insurer TV propaganda, neither Snoopy, Flo, nor a gecko will ever value your claim–a computer will.
These days, while an assigned “claims examiner” may be human, that human is probably taking cues from a computer program. Insurers try to keep secret computer program claim valuation criteria. One such program is known as Colossus, which has been relied on by Allstate and other insures. Insurers have the ability to adjust programs like Colossus to meet their needs.
By replacing the human claims examiner with a computer, insurers attempt to standardize the claim assessment process. But, this standardization of the computer claims assessment process rarely benefits claimants. Computer programs are designed to pay as little as possible without judgment or assessment of human suffering. Since humans have empathy and a sense of right v. wrong, human decision makers are capable of producing true justice that accounts for intangible losses. Computers produce “virtual justice”, not to be confused with justice.
Genuine human empathy hurts the corporate bottom line. To cut conrners, insurers manufacture fake good will through fantastic advertising campaigns designed to soften the public psyche into blind acceptance of inequitable claim practices—like computer claim valuation.
Insurers, especially publically ones are beholden to stock prices. Paying claims, while sometimes the right thing to do, does not help stock valuation. Without pressure from a tough plaintiff’s lawyer, insurers are simply not motivated to fairly evaluate and pay claims.
Thankfully, insurers don’t have the final word in how much your case is worth, juries do. Your willingness to have your case decided by a jury of human beings with lives, empathy and judgment scares the heck out of insurers.
Don’t settle for computer generated “virtual justice”. To obtain true justice you must be willing to try your case. Support the right to trial by jury by accepting jury duty as public service. Meanwhile, don’t laugh at cute insurance company commercials. Each time you see such an ad remember, the commercial is really a cold hearted insurer attempting to hijack justice through persistent brainwashing.
Richard Rizk is a former environmental claims analyst and insurance defense attorney who has zealously advocated for people with insurance claims since 2002. He works from Portland, Oregon and can be reached at (503) 245-5677 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Your comments to this blog will be appreciated.