Florida has some of the country’s highest property and automobile insurance premiums due in large part to the state’s third-place ranking for insured losses. While one might think that expensive premiums might balance out the insured losses, Florida also leads the nation in the number of lawsuits filed against insurers to challenge denied and underpaid claims.
Whether with property or auto insurance, insurers know how to legally game the system to help them save money by denying or reducing claims. With extensive insurance litigation experience in the Tallahassee area, Mutaqee Akbar of Akbar Thomas Law is intimately familiar with the strategies insurance adjusters use to avoid paying or limit claims. If you feel your insurance company is engaging in any of the below trickery while addressing your claim, contact your attorney or Akbar Thomas Law for assistance.
Be Wary of Quick Settlement Offers
When an insurance adjuster responds to your claim with a quick settlement offer that appears to cover the apparent losses, don’t just assume it’s fair and will actually cover your losses. Once you sign the settlement, you lock in your reimbursement and cannot seek additional money if you later discover that the amount failed to completely cover your losses.
First settlement offers are often lowballed figures that insurance companies offer with the hope that the claimant will accept it as fair compensation. Insurance adjusters bank this strategy on claimants’ potential ignorance about the true extent of losses and their need to quickly resolve financial impacts related to the loss. Along with typically being far more adept at calculating losses than the average person, adjusters are trained to negotiate settlements and resolve claims on behalf of the insurance company’s best interests rather than yours.
Adjusters “Care” About Limiting Insurance Company Losses
Part of the negotiating strategy used by many adjusters includes playing the role of the caring savior. Adjusters may make a point of showing their empathy and checking up on you with friendly calls to make sure that you’re successfully coping with your loss. This tact is designed to instill trust in them that might help encourage acceptance of their first settlement offer. It’s also used to engage you in conversation that may provide them with information that they might be able to use to deny or reduce your claim. While not always the case, the larger the claim, the more effort an adjuster might make at expressing their caring concern. While you shouldn’t outright regard an adjuster as an “enemy,” they are usually not your friend.
Your Own Words Can Be Used Against You
Speaking of conversations with adjusters, always be wary about what information you provide them and only give them essential facts about your loss. You are also under no obligation to provide an adjuster with a recorded statement and should not make any recorded statements without an attorney. Adjusters can and will use your own words against you to try to deny or reduce your claim. When discussing or recording your case details, adjusters seek evidence that diminishes the value of the losses or that you may have played a role in causing the losses or were negligent in preventing damages. An insurance lawyer can ensure that insurance adjusters only get the information needed to support the claim.
Dragging Out the Claim Process
Absent a quick settlement offer or in response to a settlement offer denial from the claimant, insurance companies may engage in delay tactics. This can involve failures and delays in returning your calls, lost paperwork, and various excuses to explain why processing the claim is taking so long. You might also find that the person responsible for your case keeps changing, a sometimes-intentional act by insurance companies to further complicate and slow the process. This tactic banks on stirring up frustration and impatience that might breed a desire to settle. It can prove especially effective on those who are having a difficult time paying their bills.
They Don’t Want You to Work with a Lawyer
Naturally, insurance adjusters prefer negotiating with the claimant rather than their attorney. Thus, adjusters will often try to encourage you to forgo legal counsel. They might suggest that the expense won’t justify the benefits and that it will lengthen the claims process. They might also tell you that their lowball first settlement offer is the best deal you will get and suggest that your policy doesn’t allow more. Your lawyer will tell you that you have every right to negotiate for a better deal and will negotiate or litigate on your behalf to secure a just claim.
Successfully Resolve Your Insurance Claim with Akbar Thomas Law
To ensure fair and favorable compensation in your insurance claim, Tallahassee’s, Akbar Thomas Law insurance litigation team provides expert claims negotiation services and experienced courtroom litigation when needed. To learn more, consult with us today at 850-383-0000.