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Hit by car, injured. What to do?(45 posts)

Hit by car, injured. What to do?percussion
Sep 23, 2003 8:16 AM
I was going straight through an intersection. The oncoming elderly driver admitted to looking in her rear-view mirror instead of where she was going. She never saw me, and turned directly into me. She admitted fault, and their was an officer on the scene. The paramedics came, but other than road rash, I appeared to be alright. Later, I decided to go to the hospital, and it was determined that I have a fractured and seperated shoulder. My bikes frame was twisted like you wouldn't believe. It's a total loss. I'm required to wear a sling and keep my shoulder immobile for two weeks, which means two weeks of lost wages. Total damage to the bike and parts is right around $2000.00. I'm in quite a lot of pain. One of the biggest dissapointments is not being able to do my last organized century of the season this Sunday. I've put in a lot of training. I'm wondering how to proceed with her insurance company's claim department. Do I get a lawyer?

Thank you very much for your help,

Methods vary by state...find someone w/ local knowledge...biknben
Sep 23, 2003 8:24 AM
Tell us where you are and you might get lucky here. Chances are we can only offer vague advice that might not apply to your location.

I went through an accident in the spring. I faired better than you. If I had to do it again, with your damage and injuries, I'd find a lawyer. Call a couple shops and see if they can recomend one that deals with bike related incidents.
Methods vary by state...find someone w/ local knowledge...percussion
Sep 23, 2003 8:30 AM
I'm in Oregon
Don't sign offspluti
Sep 23, 2003 8:41 AM
until you are 100% healed. Be clear about what you will settle for. Call them daily and be a pain in the ass. Hire a lawyer if you aren't comfortable being a pain in the ass. They are obligated to return your bike to "new" condition. Be prepared to give it a year. Wear them down or accept a lowball.
The attorney is up to you, but don't wait to long to consult one.
Sep 23, 2003 8:54 AM
how many times has this board hosted a debate on an insurers 'obligation'? Laws policies and practices vary from state to state.

They certainly have a legal obligation to repair or replace the bike, but 'new' condition, in general, is quite questionable (My bike is a 20 year old raleigh, beat to he11, devoid of all gears - would I be owed a new one?).

Anyhoo, I agree you need to be a pain in the ARSE. If you're costing them a lot in time, they'll often give you what you want (assuming youre reasonable) just to mimize cost.
Sep 23, 2003 9:32 AM
obligated is a poor choice of words. Yet, buying you a new bike is good PR and many times gets the insurance company "off the hook".
get a lawyerColnagoFE
Sep 23, 2003 8:44 AM
If you weren't injured i may say do it yourself. you don't know the long term consequences of your injury. i had a fractured scapula and luckily it healed without surgery, but i still have occasional rotator problems as a result of that accident. i'd say get a lawyer right away and take your time. document EVERYTHING!
Did the driver get a ticket?bimini
Sep 23, 2003 8:57 AM
If not find out why not. For some reason police are reluctant to give drivers tickets when they don't see a bike. Also get all the documentation you can from the hospital. Make certain that it is linked dirrectly to being hit by the car.

Talk to the insurance company first. Explain the real losses you have suffered honestly and openly. If the deal the insurance company offers up first time does not look great, let them know that the offer seems to lack something and you think you may need to get legal advice. (they may make a second offer to keep the lawyer out). It seems you are just trying to capture actual losses for the bike, hospital, and lost wages. Most insurance companies do not have an issue paying these. If you are after pain and suffering, or plain and simply, after a fat hog then get the lawyer.

Once you involve the lawyers, they will take a significant percentage. If the case looks good they will go for the big bucks to make it worth the time they spend.

I'm not a lawyer so take the advice for what it is worth.
what happened to meandy02
Sep 23, 2003 9:14 AM
I didn't get hurt but the insurance company did have to replace the bike. Which they did and didn't give me any problems at all. It got odd when I said I thought I was fine and would wait and see if I really needed a doctor. I forgot about it and didn't hear from them for a year to the day of the wreck and a women calls and says I am sending you a check and if you cash it you are taking over any damages you sufured from the wreck. I told her I was fine and I had a new bike but all she would do was repeat herself. I finally told her I would take her money and I now knew why insurance was so pricey. I used money to make a down payment on a car.
for now ...marcoxxx
Sep 23, 2003 9:14 AM
first> keep records of everything related to this accident!
police report very important! any med bills!
if any witnesses, could be important later

second> contact lady's insurance agent asap!
express your intentions(medical, bike, lost wages and any related losses) but be "reasonable". They will need any documentation related to actual losses and cost later. You may can recover a subjective amount of money related to your "pain, suffering & trouble" ask the ins agent what they will offer.

third> you might consider seeking a lawyer for just advise or his opinion on how to proceed(but do not hire him, only ask and pay for his advise)
If not that huge of a claim, the lady wants to settle and you are capable(?) of handling, then you may not need to hire a lawyer(but could depend on your state too and how the police falted the accident) Hopefully her insurance agent is not a jerk and will cooperate and be reasonable too and no one has to hire lawyers.

disclaimer>not a lawyer(only have dealt with insurance though)
hope you get better,
re: Hit by car, injured. What to do?lyleseven
Sep 23, 2003 9:28 AM

I am a Calif. lawyer and you really should retain an attorney in Oregon. Given the extent of your injuries you will never receive an adequate offer without counsel. But you need a good lawyer and not one who will rush to a quick settlement. If you are anywhere near Portland, call Dan Dzuba (don't have his number as I am at home). Tell him Lyle referred you from California. Good luck. And don't make any statements to the driver's insurance company. They will be looking for ways to minimize your claim.
what he saidColnagoFE
Sep 23, 2003 9:46 AM
if there is injury involved do you really want to be the one arguing with the ins company every day? what isyour time worth? most often it pays to retain a lawyer when injury is involved--even if it's just to save you the headaches of arguing with the insurance company. they know the ins and outs of the insurance game. y0uo don't. if you were not injured it might be a different story.
well if a LAWYER suggests conunsel...Steve_0
Sep 23, 2003 9:56 AM
(sorry brian, couldnt resist).
Oregon Attorney: Ray Thomas...mdehner
Sep 23, 2003 9:45 AM
Highly reputable, very visible and active with the BTA.

(no, I don't get a cut.)
My advice FWIW...Mike Prince
Sep 23, 2003 10:15 AM
I went through the same thing in July and here is what I did (after posting here like you did and getting lots of varying advice):

1. Start doing your homework. Document every piece of property (bike, clothing, etc.) that was damaged as a result of the accident. If it was scratched, broken, or destroyed document it. Be honest - don't claim that your 6 year old Cannodale is a 1 year old Colnago :) Get replacement costs for everything from a shop (bike) and catalogs (clothing, etc.)

2. If there were any witnesses, get in touch with them and make sure that they can accurately corroborate what happened. If the driver decides to lie, these witnesses are invaluable.

3. Contact the driver's insurance company to notify them of the accident. If they don't already know about it, you may have to provide some details. Your detailed property list lets them know you mean business and sets an expectation that you want your property replaced. Also, make sure you save every receipt for medical supplies, even if it is for a bottle of ibuprofen.

4. Get a copy of the police/accident report. This will be the basis of who gets assigned fault. If possible speak to the officer to clarify everything on the report. Find out if the driver was cited for any violations.

Do not get a lawyer immediately. This only slows the process down. My friends who are adjustors told me that nothing screws up a straightforward claim like an a-hole lawyer calling them every day (no offense to the laywer cyclists on this board) to try and pressure them. Talk with the adjustor, in my case it helped to be very nice to him - he is only doing his job. In my accident, they settled my property claim without any question, didn't question anything. They are more worried that you will sue for bodily injury, which makes the property claim miniscule in their eyes.

I did the above and settled the property claim one week after the accident. Do not settle the injury claim until you are ready to! Depending on the insurance company, they may try to pressure you to settle. My understanding is that there is a 3 year statute of limitations on the bodily injury claim. I had a very low investment in the medical side (bandages and stuff), so I told the adjustor that I would let that hang out there 'til I was sure I was OK. A few weeks ago I settled that part of the claim as well.

Most importatntly, heal up well. Don't be in a huge rush to settle anything at this point. You have been seriously injured and if you are reasonable and patient it will work out.

Good Luck,

PS - the advice I got from "merckx56' was the best advice I got from anyone on this board.
this is all good advice, with the caution that, while hiring anbill
Sep 23, 2003 11:22 AM
a**hole lawyer may be a bad idea, as bad an idea as being an a**hole yourself, hiring a reasonable one is not.
:) nmMike Prince
Sep 23, 2003 12:04 PM
Geez Mike, you're making me blush...(nm)merckx56
Sep 23, 2003 5:52 PM
from experience (twice)(yes, twice. San Fran)bigdeal
Sep 23, 2003 10:27 AM
follow these steps:
Call for ambulance and police.
Exchange info with driver. SIGN NOTHING.
Make sure driver gets a ticket/is cited.
Ride ambulance.
Get lawyer.
When calling their insurance, only give name, other driver's name and policy number, date of crash, location/intersection of crash (NO DETAILS), get confirmation/case number, GIVE NO OTHER DETAILS.
From that point forward work with your lawyer.
here's the scoop. I am a lawyer, I do this kind of work, and Ibill
Sep 23, 2003 11:17 AM
just have to pull rank because of the well-intentioned but, sorry to say, bad advice you're getting here.
Absolutely make a claim, but understand what you can and cannot claim for. The laws differ in little respects that can, unfortunately, have outsized consequences considering certain facts, but, for your trashed bike, everywhere that I've ever heard of you are entitled to recover lesser of the repair cost or the market value of the bike. Because insurance companies have no real system for dealing with bikes, there is bound to be some wiggle room here, and I encourage you to try to convince the company that there is no readily available market in your bike, so that, sad as it is to bury your ____________, you will need replacement value for a comparable product. They can only say no. In which case, you will need to figure out what your bike was worth. To sell. Not to replace new. I then would try to keep the salvage. They may demand some discount, but they may not care, and you can try to get some value back on the parts that still work. This is hardly insurance fraud -- we're talking peanuts here, and these things cost them to deal with. Again, doesn't hurt to ask.
In most places, you can resolve the property damage issues without resolving the personal injury issues. Make sure that this is the case before taking any money for the property damage.
You probably have not a bad PI case in which you could interest a lawyer. You certainly could do it yourself, but the lawyer does, in fact, provide a service, for which, of course, you will pay a fee, usually 33% to 40%, and it is up to you whether it is worth it to you or not.
Insurance companies are not, repeat not, scared to death that you will hire a lawyer. They may even rather deal with a lawyer. They may try to sucker you into a sweetheart deal early on, but, barring that, they need you to have a lawyer as much as you do to tell you that your case is worth, for example, $8,000 and not $80,000. Believe me, more clients inflate the value of claims than do lawyers.
DO NOT MAKE A PEST OF YOURSELF. IT WILL NOT HELP YOU. Insurance adjustors are people. If they get peeved, shall we say, they will not want to deal with you and will be happy for the case to go into litigation, because then they won't have to (deal with you). Be firm, but be fair. Don't be afraid of them, even to ask them for help -- they also generally will not lie to you. In other words, if you ask them a direct question, you generally will get a straight, even helpful answer. They adjust claims, they like dealing with honest, straightforward people, and they are likely to respond in kind.
In fact, for the most part, little that you do will influence the value of your claim, assuming that you know enough about how to package your case or to hire a lawyer who does it for you. The value that a lawyer provides is in getting these facts and supporting documentation together and in then helping negotiate the case to a fair value. In some smaller cases, the negotiating itself is easy, because the insurance company evaluates these claims and makes an offer and you can take it or leave it. A lawyer will know enough when the offer is decent or know what facts to add or push that may change the value. Like as not, you will not. In other words, the lawyer will not scare the insurance company into a fair offer, because litigation is part of life for those guys, but a lawyer will know how to present the case so that the evaluation by the insurance company is fair and quick.
yes; get a lawyer nmDougSloan
Sep 23, 2003 11:35 AM
Bill as always is on point, but I would add...............Len J
Sep 23, 2003 2:07 PM
that in the end the question of a lawyer or not is about economics vs your time.


Assuming a lawyer takes 1/3 of any settlement, the attorney needs to get 50% more than you can get on your own in order for you to put the same money in your pocket.

Put another way. If you can get $10,000 negotiating on your own, then an attorney would have to get a settlement of $15,000 in order for you to put $10,000 in your pocket. ($15,000 less atty fee of 1/3rd or $5000 = $10,000).

It is a gamble, but go in with your eyes open.

The other dimension is how much time you want to spend gathering all the documentation or do you want to do it yourself.

hybrid deal with lawyer?DougSloan
Sep 23, 2003 2:33 PM
Might try this: Negotiate yourself. See what offer you can get. If it's $5,000, and you want more, then go to a lawyer. Arrange so that the lawyer only takes a fee on any amount then obtained over the $5,000. Not all would do this, but I have. Everything is potentially negotiable. Be creative and look around.

If nothing else, you'll find out in a heartbeat how the lawyerbill
Sep 23, 2003 3:11 PM
evaluates your case. I certainly have told clients that I didn't think that I could add value to the point where the fees would be worth it to them (or, frankly, to me -- an unhappy client is rarely worth the fees even in a decent case).
I have taken cases where the plaintiff had tried to negotiate herself (I really only remember one, although there could have been more). Not sure what I could do with it, I took it on an hourly basis. Quite to my surprise, actually, I negotiated a fairly signficantly higher settlement. I ended up cutting my fee a little to make sure that the client came out ahead, but it was gratifying and sort of validating. I didn't get my full hourly, but it was still worth it.
On the other hand, I have met with potential clients, explained how the whole thing worked, and have had them decide to go it alone. One or two of them threw up their hands in frustration over gathering the documents, etc., and came back, although a couple have gone it alone and, I think, probably did okay.
The lawyer provides two basic services -- gathering the information to present (with your help) and valuing the case. The nuances of identifying information to gather and making sure that it is presented in a way that both impresses and avoids extraneous issues are more likely to matter in the bigger cases.
Small, straightforward cases that are more likely to be resolved by gathering a couple of medical records and bills, with an all but non-negotiable offer from the insurance company, minimize what the lawyer contributes. Broken bone cases, however, are not all that small, and it is probably worth it to get a lawyer. Not essential, but worth it. If your livelihood is affected, all the more reason to get a lawyer.
Good insight, as always nmLen J
Sep 23, 2003 3:51 PM
I agree. nmLen J
Sep 23, 2003 3:51 PM
here's the scoop. I am a lawyer, I do this kind of work, and Ilyleseven
Sep 23, 2003 3:00 PM
Ignore Mike, listen to Bill. Mike is tellilng you about a lot of things you can do, which a lawyer does automatically. Unfortunately, mike has left out a few things and given you some incorrect advice, although he appears well-intended but obviously hates lawyers and thinks the insurance industry is in business to give money away. His understanding of claims adjusters is way off beat. They have manuals to guide them in dealing with unrepresented injured claimants and they will never off more than the manual dictates, which is a lesser number than what the claim is usually worth. A lot of lawyers, contrary to Mike's impression are not A-holes, and will handle the claim for 33% or less. Yes, I am a lawyer, but you don't have to be a rocket scientist to aprreciate getting medical advice from a doctor and legal advice from a lawyer. Mike apparently is neither. By the way, with that kind of an injury you are not talking about just nuisance value and the bike replacement dollar value is nominal compared to the personal injury recovery available. Good luck!
Just sharing my successful advice, no need to get personal (nm)Mike Prince
Sep 23, 2003 3:21 PM
Whoa nelly. Mike is not way off base.Aztec
Sep 23, 2003 3:42 PM
As an ex claims adjuster I can confirm it's you whose way off base here.

"They have manuals to guide them in dealing with unrepresented injured claimants and they will never offer more than the manual dictates..."

Funny, I don't remember any of those manuals while spending 10 years in claims.

Mike's comments regarding not getting a lawyer immediately are spot on. Way too many people think by threatening getting an attorney they will scare the insurance company into paying out. Nothing is further from the truth. Be honest, sincere and straightforward in dealing with the adjuster and you'll get treated fairly 99% of the time.
Whoa nelly. Mike is not way off base.lyleseven
Sep 23, 2003 5:33 PM
Aztec sounds like one of those few claims adjusters that had some authority to be reasonable. This is an exception not the rule. I don't know how long its been since he's adjusted claims, but there are manuals in most all companies today that set guidelines on handling claims. I have copies of these manuals in my office obtained from seminars on the very subject. Insurance companies don't want to admit to the use of these, and I am not suggesting that exceptions aren't made depending upon the unique issues in a particular case. No one is getting personal in this issue as I respect the opinions of all, lawyer or layman.
No worries.Aztec
Sep 24, 2003 8:13 AM
5 years out of claims but I know it hasn't changed much. Manuals just are not prevelent in claims offices. That's a fact. I'm sure some have been written and you can probably find one in any claims office but adjuster don't use them on a regular basis.

It didn't take me long to figure out there are some really bad attorneys out there AND some really, really bad claims people. It also didn't take long to figure out the best claims file is a closed claims file. Give them some money and make them go away.
Wow, a lawyer who knows little or nothing...go figure...merckx56
Sep 23, 2003 6:17 PM
I'm really glad you are a lawyer, but those three years you spent drinking and trying to get undergrads in the sack, do not make you the all seeing eye. Mike got his advice from me. I am a claims rep for one of the largest insurance companies in the nation, Mike's understanding of claims adjusters is fully first hand, through his dealings with me and the adjuster he worked with on his case. There are no manuals on how much to offer anyone, nor is there some magic slide rule. As a policy, we treat people fairly and allow them to recover what they rightfully deserve. Things cost a certain amount, period! Some companies are complete whorebags and will indeed lowball claimants.
Most however, if the claimant is up front, honest and does not try to beat up the rep for far more than they lost, will indeed pay what is owed. By all means, go to the doctor, the therapist, the acupuncturist, etc. If they are viable treatments for an injury you suffered, they WILL get paid for by the insurance company! Sure, the insurance company is in it to make $$, but let's get something straight, the lawyers ain't doing it for free!
Now, let's talk about personal injury attorneys. You know, those guys you see on TV every day. I get attorney rep letters every day demanding payment for injuries sustained in accidents, and even injuries that could never have been suffered in accidents. The going rate for attorneys is 33-40 percent of the recovery. The old rule of thumb used to be that the claimant collected 3x what there total medical bills amounted to. Example-- $15,000 bills= $45,000 payment. The attorney, in turn, got 33% of that 45 grand. Now, the going rate is asking for 10x what the bills amount to! $15,000 bills now equals $150,000. Let's call it the new math. 33% of $150k is considerably more than 33% of $45k! Is the picture becoming a bit clearer for all of you?
The more the attorney asks for, the more they hope the insurance company will settle for and thus, they get a bigger Mercedes in the process!
I have no problems dealing with attorneys who are not scheister douchebags. I have a lot of friends who are just such folks. I will, however, drag my feet and turn into the prototypical insurance guy when an aforementioned scheister thinks he can have his way with me. And the claimant will in turn, be forced into the long haul.
Only get the personal injury attorney as a last resort. Be honest, up front, and hold your ground with the insurance compnay and everything will come out okay! The fact that the term ..."nominal compared to the personal injury recovery available." is possibly the biggest "Let's see how much we can take 'em for" statement I've ever heard! Even from a lawyer!
Another angry insurance industry person?lyleseven
Sep 23, 2003 7:18 PM
I have the manuals, maybe your company didn't use them. All the big companies do. Are you advocating that 3x specials is fair in all cases? Come one... If a guy loses his eye his hospital bills can be $5,000. Is a lost eye worth only $15,000!!! You may be a fair and reasonable claims adjuster who works for a company with a fair and reasonable attitude toward claims, but I still maintain that is not the rule. Your first sentence is a giveaway and shows all your anger and bias. i worked for 3 years to get through law school and didn't have time to chase the undergrads either. By the way, I don't spend my money on Mercedes, I spend it on bikes, so at least we have bikes in common! If we didn't have two sides to the issue, we wouldn't need a jury system and life would be pretty boring.
Gee, I would have thought you guys would have melloweddjg
Sep 24, 2003 7:15 AM
a bit, what with the market coming back and all, at least somewhat.

Apart from the bit about the manuals--and frankly I neither know nor care whether there are such manuals--I cannot tell what you are responding to. It seems to me that a couple of personal injury attorneys have posted on this thread and that they've given reasonable advice. They have NOT, among other things, suggested that the purpose of an attorney is to scare or threaten an insurance company and they have not made any statements that--even given a hyperbolic paraphrase--would translate into anything like "let's see how much we can take 'em for." They have not sought out any business. They have talked about the ability of a good and responsible lawyer to help value a claim and organize and present the documentation of that claim. At least one of the lawyers has suggested not all claims require representation and that he has at times advised clients that he could not add value to their claims. Whenever there is a serious injury involved--in this case broken bones are reported--it is probably worthwhile to seek such a person out, at least for a consultation. Not because the insurer is necessarily or even likely out to cheat the person making the claim, but because the person making the claim is probably somewhat at sea in this business and because even a forthright insurance company does not represent him, and will not seek to prolong the matter or extend an investigation to be darn clear that all the LEGITIMATE injuries have been properly contemplated. And, as you say, not all insurers are forthright.

And no, I am not now nor have I ever been a personal injury attorney.
Gee, I would have thought you guys would have mellowedAztec
Sep 24, 2003 8:01 AM
Assume your talking about the insurance market not stock market. If so, claims adjuster really don't give a hoot about insurance rates as their workload is pretty consisent in a soft or hard market.

Aztec = always mellow. Life's too short to be uptight.
Gee, I would have thought you guys would have mellowedlyleseven
Sep 24, 2003 8:57 AM
Aztec's cool, and anything I posted should not be taken personally; merckx has got to be cool too, or he wouldn't be riding bikes...
Thanks man...nothing personal!merckx56
Sep 24, 2003 10:09 AM
I fully agree with getting paid, believe me! If I got popped by a car and had an injury that would stay with me for a lifetime, I'm getting attorney repped and getting PAID! There are just too many instances when people just aren't hurt, lawyer up, and expect a big payday. We had a lady last week that hit an oncoming vehicle. Upon further investigation, the mirrors on each respective vehicle hit. No body damage from a collision. Our insure said she was hurt, and all three of her children were hurt! Of course, the biggest scumbag PI lawyer in town is repping her now! For the mirror getting knocked off! Sometines it really does go from the ridiculous to the sublime.
Don't get me started. I see far more instances of insurancebill
Sep 24, 2003 10:25 AM
companies dragging plaintiffs into court than the other way around.
I do mediations in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. I see a lot of PI cases (plus I have my own practice). What I see is that there exists a prevalence of opinion that PI claimants are just trying to milk the system, which has spread from insurance companies to juries, as a result of which the verdicts get progressively lower to where claimants literally cannot afford to try the case, can't afford to settle. The juries believe that the claimant's insurance takes care of the bills, but what they don't know is that, in most states, the health insurer gets their money back. So, you have a poor schmuck with $2,000 in medicals who hired a lawyer because he was very uncomfortable with the way he was being treated by the insurance company, and an offer of $3,750 at mediation, take it or leave it (where sometimes suit was required just to get the offer). So, the lawyer's fee is one-third -- take $1250 off the top (and, at $200 per hour, that case probably cost the lawyer $5,000 in time). That leaves $2500. The guy has incurred $450 in expenses. That leaves $2050. He owes his health insurer $2000. So, he gets $50 for his troubles.
You think that this is fair? And I do see what you're talking about, it happens, but I see far more of what I'm talking about.
Don't get me started. I see far more instances of insurancedjg
Sep 24, 2003 10:38 AM
Bill, the best empirical study I've seen regarding the incidence of medical malpractice focused on New York State data and observed roughly four times as many incidents of serious malpractice (identifiable medical error with serious impact, under their terms obviously) as there were actual malpractice claims filed. Obviously, the population of incidents giving rise to claims is not a proper subset of the population of incidents of actual malpractice, but I think your point has to be generally correct.
Gee, I would have thought you guys would have melloweddjg
Sep 24, 2003 10:15 AM
No, actually I am talking about "the" stock market--or rather, equities and other investment markets broadly construed. This is where the companies who employ claims adjusters put the money. That's a large part of the business right? They're not just playing law-of-large-numbers-reduced-variance-skimming, they're actually investing the money. Although they don't consult claims adjusters on this, I would think that a less desperate climate in their money management endeavors would have at least some sort of trickle down effect.

Of course all of that's neither here nor there with regard to the main thread of what I was saying.
Was forthright the word of the day on your calendar today?merckx56
Sep 24, 2003 10:14 AM
You've obviously never worked for an insurance compnay either, huh? BTW-My company never lost ANY market share and has been growing at a rate of 22% for the last three years, so I could give a poop about the market!
No, I haven't. I didn't think it that obvious, but thanks fordjg
Sep 24, 2003 10:31 AM
noticing. That is, I have never been an insurance company employee. I have, on the other hand, done some work on behalf of insurance companies. Or rather, on behalf of groups of insurance companies. That, too, it seems to me, is neither here nor there.

Gee, that's two repsonses in a row that have nothing to do with the main thread of what I was saying.

To your main question: I don't have a word of the day on my calendar. I honestly don't know when I learned the meaning of the word "forthright." Perhaps I was 8 years old. Perhaps I was 9. Now that I'm 43, it's really hard to remember.

I'm not sure why you think I might care about the conditions under which you could or would give a poop about the market or anything else, much less to whom you might give it. Are you actually suggesting that your fabulous ever-growing insurance company has no portfolio? Really? And who are they, exactly?
Claims adjustors don't typically note such stuff. The wordbill
Sep 24, 2003 10:47 AM
will come down from much higher, and it will show up as some or another change of claims handling strategy (and, to be fair, it's not valuing them that changes as much as the way that they are handled) without explanation. The changes will come after a market shift or after the losses from a major claims event like the hurricane we just had, but it does take a little while.
My biggest revelation about insurance companies was not that they are evil -- I always knew that -- but that they are investment houses that get to play with your premium dollars -- their core business is managing their portfolio, not handling claims.
That's why this tort reform thing is such BS. It's mostly besides the point (although caps and such can add to the companies' bottom line, the savings won't show up in reduced premiums, because the claims losses -- except with regard to major natural disasters -- are peanuts compared to the investment record).
My company...merckx56
Sep 24, 2003 3:04 PM
is the third largest auto and largest motorcycle insurer in the US. Unlike other companies, we do not include investments in our bottom line. Our bottom line is taken purely from premiums written and collected. The largest insurer in the US is State farm and the only reason they have not been posting losses for the last three years is their investments! They and Nationwide (no 2) have both been hemorraghing money for the last five years. Our goal is 4 percent profit and this year we are operating at 12 percent. I won't give you the name, but from this info, it shouldn't be hard to find out who I work for!
Digressing merrilydjg
Sep 25, 2003 8:07 AM
further from the very reasonable legal advice provided by Bill and others . . .

I'm guessing you work at Progressive, but I'm not sure about that and it doesn't really matter. If it's progressive, they seem to have listed 264.3 million in recurring investment income and 17.8 million in net realized gains on securities in their August 15, 2003 filing with the SEC, but maybe that's not part of their "bottom line" and, as I say, maybe you're not at progressive. Dunno. Don't care.

No offense--seems to me that there's no reason why you should care where I work either.

It just doesn't matter for what our injured board member should do, which in my opinion is (a) solicit recommendations of responsible attorneys in his area and (b) consult with one of them. Whether he should actually engage one of them is a question to which I don't know the answer.