Insurance companies have a bad reputation, and it is oftentimes well-deserved. Insurers collect more than $1 trillion in premiums annually and generate profits around $30 billion on average. They pad their profit margins by denying the claims of people who need coverage and by convincing desperate people to accept a settlement for less than what the insurance company is obligated to pay.
If you have been injured in a car accident, you could be further victimized by the dishonest and deceptive tactics that insurance companies use. Learning about these tricks is a good way to protect yourself, and the American Association of Justice has a comprehensive report on these deceptive tactics. Accident lawyers in Houston can also represent your interests and stand up to the insurance companies for you.
How Insurers Avoid Paying What They Should
Insurance companies have a lot of different ways that they avoid paying after you have suffered a covered loss.
For example, many insurance companies provide significant incentives for claims handlers to ensure policyholders either accept low settlements or have their claims denied. Insurers throw pizza parties to celebrate and reward representatives who keep payout rates low. They give gift certificates and prizes, like small appliances, to representatives who get the injured and sick to accept less than they should. Representatives who can pay nothing at all on most claims get bonuses.
While most large insurers engage in this behavior, some are worse than others. For example, in a report on the 10 Worst Insurance companies in America, it was revealed that Allstate's employees called their claims-handling process the "three Ds." The D's stood for deny, delay and defend. "Lowball" settlement offers were made to covered policyholders for losses. Those who did not settle ended up faced with an aggressive litigation strategy to deprive them of their money and to convince lawyers not to help them by making the claims process so expensive and time consuming.
AIG is also known for terrible tactics like locking payout checks in a safe deposit box until claimants complained, and disposing of important correspondence from clients at "pizza parties." Like Allstate, AIG took an aggressive litigation stance and frequently fought claimants in court for years over mundane claims.
These are just a few different examples of the egregious behavior that insurers engage in. By delaying paying out claims, the insurer hopes that the victims will die before the payment is ever made or that the victims will get so desperate and discouraged that they will just go away.
You don't have to give into this and you shouldn't. You could get stuck with huge financial losses if you don't get paid for damages after an accident injures you. Contact a legal professional as soon as possible for help with your claim so you have the best chance of actually getting the money you deserve from the insurer.
Accident lawyers in Houston can help after your collision. Call today at (800) 632-9404 to schedule your free consultation with Hagood & Neumann.