Colossus Software and the Claims Process: How Insurance Software Can Be Bad For You
Computers have become such an integral part of our society that it’s difficult to imagine life without them. We shop, write e-mails, pay our bills, or look up any conceivable bit of information that we can find, and we can do it practically instantaneously. Computer software has made all of this possible, and the benefits are enormous in terms of time saved and convenience. For instance, tax preparation software has made one of the most trying times of the year slightly more bearable. Word processing software makes writing a great deal easier than a typewriter used to. Spreadsheet software makes accounting or juggling numbers a relative breeze.
It’s obvious that computer software has made all of our lives easier, but technology should by no means be considered the be all and end all for everything. For instance, when it comes to settling an insurance claim after an accident, is a software program really the most realistic way of determining what your damages are worth?
Big insurance companies like Allstate and MetLife seem to think so. They’ve been using a claims adjustment program called Colossus for years, and as a result, thousands of injured Americans are being offered settlements that could possibly be inaccurate, unfair and artificially low.
Put simply, Colossus is database software that takes most of the available information about your claim, such as the nature and severity of any injuries that you might have suffered, and compares that information to an average of already settled claims of similar type. For instance, if you are in a car accident and suffer a broken arm, the adjuster simply types in the scenario and sees what the average settlement is for arms broken in car accidents in your region. Colossus also factors in such things as Degree of Pain and Suffering and other possible effects of the wreck, and then calculates a settlement based on that average. This is what the adjuster offers the victim.
At first glance, this might appear to be a perfectly reasonable tool for insurance companies to use. The argument for it is that it keeps payments within reasonable parameters by categorizing injuries.
According to the sales brochure, Colossus also offers the following services to your insurance company.
“…Increase the adjuster’s confidence in the negotiation process.”
“…Improve the adjuster’s investigative questioning skills (at all levels from new adjusters to the most experienced.)”
his would seem to make it very easy for someone who knew very little about insurance, bodily injuries or car accidents to quickly offer a settlement, which would certainly save time for everyone involved.
But what isn’t taken into account is that nobody except the insurance companies knows what data is being used to average out claims. Nor are they taking into account the fact that no two accidents are alike.
The accidents and settlement information used in Colossus are the private and confidential information of the insurance companies that use the software. There is no way to make sure that the database of accidents was constructed impartially. Who is to say that they aren’t leaving out the more expensive settlements? If an accident victim undergoes complications during initial treatment and requires more expensive care, are they placing this data in Colossus as well? What happens if the victim suffers from other physical ailments caused by the accident but the symptoms don’t manifest themselves until much later? If it turns out that they are not entering crucial data such as this, insurers that use “Colossus” have a very simple way of keeping settlements costs artificially low. It would be similar to inheriting a million dollars and not reporting it on your taxes.
Another troubling aspect is that this would allow for adjusters to simply type in a few keywords, press enter, and have a number to offer without even once leaving the office or actually going out to see the victim and the damage that was done.
At Laufenberg, Stombaugh & Jassak, S.C., we realize that an injury is much more than something that can be summed up in a few keystrokes. We know that the needs of our clients cannot simply be condensed into little bits of ones and zeros and fed through a machine. Automating a claims service practically guarantees that people will fall through the cracks and have their real physical injuries and financial needs neglected. So we take it upon ourselves to remind the insurers that they are dealing with real human beings, and not simply a number on a screen.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident and feel that you are not being treated fairly, contact our offices for a case assessment.