Dishonest Insurance Practices Increase Need for Lawyers


We’ve all seen the commercials of the woman who is taking her kids to school when she gets in an accident. It’s a minor one, but she is so scared for the health and safety of her children that she is broken down, crying in fear. Sobbing on her cell phone, she blathers to the insurance agent incoherently. The agent gets the basic information and rushes out to her aid. He calms her, takes her claim information, and, after finding that she and her children are fine, he gives them all a ride to school and home. The woman then tells us how helpful the agent was and how quickly her claim was handled.

It might be wrong to call the commercial an out-and-out lie, but let’s say that insurance companies have decided to go in a different direction. No longer is their strategy customer service leading to satisfaction, loyal customers, and repeat business. Instead, their new strategy is “deny, delay, defend,” according to whistle-blowers.

For about the last ten years, insurance companies have adopted a tough stance on minor accident claims, where there is little damage to the car and primarily soft-tissue injuries. They give minute offers of settlements, often insufficient to cover the cost of repairing the crumple-zone designs of modern vehicles, not to mention medical expenses, which often run exorbitantly high even if you are not injured. Even worse, they extend this practice to people who experience neck and spinal injuries, leading to tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses and lost work. And when they pay damages, the settlement is anything but timely, sometimes taking a year or more.

These practices are making the insurance companies billions of dollars, while obviously they provide fewer and fewer benefits for clients. The only way to get justice in these cases is with a lawyer, and as much as five years of fighting. The laws of most states mandate that drivers be insured. Perhaps the laws should also mandate exactly what insurance companies should cover and what they should pay.