Today I smiled, it’s the First Day of School...
Proud parents snap photos of cute, anticipating kids all in cue for a big yellow bus. As is life, many of these children will soon also learn about bullies. Schoolyard bullies project their own insecurities to another child through demeaning comments, harassing conduct and even beatings.
We Try Avoidance
In grade school, bully avoidance tactics work most of the time but avoidance only goes so far. After grade school many kids learn to stand up to the bad apples and only fight when there seems to be no other option.
I Have Become Aware of a Greater “Super Bully”
As life rolls on, I have become aware of a greater, “Super Bully”. Unlike “Biff” from ‘Back to the Future’ Super Bullies can be sly, even cunning. Super Bullies wear masks to hide behind. Some of these Super Bullies are not even human and may never die. These Super Bullies are corporations.
Insurance companies, for example, may masquerade as a “quirky friend” always dressed in white (think Flo), or your favorite national monument (think Lady Liberty) or an accented lizard or… whatever will distract you.
Insurance is Serious Business
Distract from what? The ball, the central issue. Insurance is about CLAIMS, not entertainment. Insurance is serious business. Big business. There are winners and there are losers.
Lives depend on proper claims handling. No matter what side of a claim you are on, you want an insurance company who has your interest at heart, not its stockholder’s.
If you are sued, you want an insurance company who will defend you. If you were in a motor vehicle collision, (you want an insurer who will not scheme to cut off your PIP (Personal Injury Protection) medical benefits early. If your house catches fire, you want an insurer who will not challenge the claim value or compensability.
An Insurance Policy is More Than Paper - it’s a promise
Insurance is a crazy idea when you think about it. You give an insurer money and they give you a piece of paper. But it’s more than paper. It’s a promise.
It’s a promise that when that big bad covered event happens, the insurance company will not play games. It’s a promise that the insurer will act in good faith. In fact, every insurance policy is premised on an implied duty of good faith.
After diverting and manufacturing “trust” Super Bullies stick the knife at most critically vulnerable moments…when your claim is on the line! Super Bullies are a product of the dark side of capitalism, greed. Super Bullies test and retest to slip a precisely crafted message into the unsuspecting target’s mind.
Super-Duper Bullies know that the right message not only entices the mark to buy its product but also softens the mark to reduce resistance later on. Progressives’ Flo would never deny a claim, would she? She’s your friend, right?
But there is hope. Just like Biff, even Super Bullies cower when exposed and faced with the willingness to fight back.
What to Do?
First rule of thumb: know which insurer is calling. You have no obligation to speak with the insurer for the other insurance company. Keep in mind the opposing insurance company’s goals are probably opposed to yours.
Second rule of thumb: you do have a duty to cooperate with your own insurance company.
Final tip: avoid negotiating directly with the opposing adjuster before you have an attorney consultation. Remember, opposing adjusters are potential witnesses who could testify against you down the road. And you don’t want to be stuck with any unresolved medical or insurance liens.
Rizklaw is Here for YOU!
“I have experience seeing this from both sides of the coin. There is a reason I am on this side now!
From 1990 to 1996 I worked at Nationwide Insurance and Wausau Insurance in house counsel. In that role I defended workers’ compensation claims, slip and falls and car accident injury claims. From 1996 to 2000 I supervised and negotiated resolution of environmental claims and litigated cases nationally from Nationwide’s satellite home office in suburban Chicago.
Since then, I have switched to the side of righteousness and justice representing and litigating and resolving personal injury and insurance companies in Oregon and Washington state. Along the way, I have learned many valuable lessons and insights.”
Attorney Richard Rizk