October 30th, 2014 by Andy Goldner
As an attorney in Atlanta handling serious auto accident claims, I have become very familiar with the various insurance companies and how they handle claims negotiations.
What has recently come to light is, quite frankly, altogether not surprising if you represent individuals injured in car wrecks in Georgia. Drum roll please….Allstate Insurance Company has allegedly been mismanaging the way it handles Georgia injury claims. To be fair to Allstate, they don’t agree with that assessment. Shocking. Back on Earth, those of us who live in the real world have known about Allstate’s use of Colossus for quite some time. Many folks reading this blog are likely insured by Allstate and have no idea what Colossus is. A bit of background is in order.
Allstate is a mega insurance company with billions and billions of dollars. Much like a bad slot machine, the company is fond of accepting payments and isn’t particularly fond of paying out claims. However, in an effort to streamline claims handling, the company turned to a computer program. Essentially, the claims handlers input data about the car accident victim, including personal characteristics and type of injury and the computer “spits out” a range for settlement. Allstate would then take a hard line, often refusing to pay more that the computer allowed.
Not surprisingly, it was discovered that some of the claims handlers were not using the system correctly, resulting in poor outcomes for injured people. Allstate claims that there was no systematic underpayment of claims. I’ll let the reader decide whether an insurance company’s mistake is likely to favor the insurance company or the injured individual. An Allstate spokesman was quoted as saying “There’s nothing wrong with the software, you just have to do it right.” Well, that is kind of like saying “Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?” In other words, you are missing the 600 pound gorilla in the room!
While Allstate apparently admits no wrongdoing, they did pay approximately $10 million in fines to settle claims over allegedly improper use of the software. Georgia drivers ought to carefully consider with whom they do business. Let me give credit where credit is due. I have recently had very favorable experiences with Georgia car wreck claims with USAA. I know that not all serious injury lawyers have had good experiences with USAA; however, I have recently found their adjusters to be fair and easy to deal with. Let’s hope Allstate follows suit.