Sunday, February 18, 2007

CNN Shines Light On Car Insurance Companies

Recently, CNN has covered the problems faced by people when claiming money from car insurance companies. The report aired on Anderson Cooper 360˚ found out that most of the insurance companies in the country use a philosophy based on three Ds. These are delay, deny, and defend. Insurance companies, as illustrated by the show, delay handling claims from victims, deny that the claimant was hurt and defend their decision in court if it comes to that. This philosophy has made it hard for claimants to get their fair compensation, as hard as a steering system without a Volvo steering rack . The show reveals that even victims of minor car accidents find it hard to get fair compensation from insurance companies. The story revolved around the experience of Roxanne Martinez, who tried to claim $25,000 for the medical payments and lost wages but only offered $15,000 by Allstate, the insurance company of the person who hit her car in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Reporter Anderson Cooper and producer Kathleen Johnston worked on the report for 18 months and the result is that they found out that most insurance companies fight paying billions in claims. The story shows that when Martinez tried to claim the $25,000 that is rightfully hers, the insurance company only offered her $15,000 hoping that Martinez would take the money since the only other option left is to hire a lawyer and take the matter to the court. Martinez however, did not take the money but instead hired a lawyer, they won the case and the jury granted her $167,000. But the process took three years.

The report said that ten out of the top twelve insurance companies uses the three Ds in an effort to make money out of the misfortune of other people. The report also called on former insurance industry insiders to give comments on the said issue. These insiders said that if a person has the misfortune of getting in a collision and got hurt, insurance companies will more often try using the three Ds to make more money. Other corroborated the statements too; lawyers also stated that they know for a fact that several major insurance companies fights their way out of paying victims fairly.

Anderson Cooper 360˚ also got their hands on a training manual from Allstate. Somewhere in the manual it is written to force "smaller walk-away settlements". Another insider that the show interviewed was Shannon Katz. Katz is a former claims adjuster for the insurance company Allstate. She said that she would offer as low as $50 in some very minor cases. She said that poor people would take what they are offering for fear that they would get nothing at all.

The report stated that insurance companies are hoping that claimants will not wait for their claims to be handled and just walk away for those who suffered only minor accidents. Insurance companies are also hoping that claimants will not sue and just take what they are offering and simply leave it at that. Experts in the field say that the strategy employed by Allstate and other insurance companies has made then billions of dollars which does not rightfully belong to them.

In response to the report, Allstate sent an e-mail which states that they did not think CNN will deliver a fair report. But the insurance company has yet to address the issue that the show has raised. This silence on the part of the insurance company adds to the suspicion of the public that what the show reported is indeed the truth.


Glady Reign is a 32 year old is a consultant for an automotive firm based in Detroit, Mi. she is a native of the Motor City and grew up around cars hence her expertise in the automotive field.






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