Some of them are.
In fact, consumers have dedicated websites to the reported abuses of at least one company and its adjusters: for instance, take a look at this one on Allstate. And since I started suing insurance companies, I have seen more than one adjuster whose actions were beyond understanding.
But I deal with adjusters every day, and I manage to settle more lawsuits with them than I do with their lawyers. And I wouldn’t recommend settlement to my clients unless I thought it made sense.
Here are some things you need to remember about adjusters.
1) What they will pay you in the end is based on some variation of what they think a jury will pay you. They have studies that show this, and they frequently use computer programs that will tell them what they can offer on your case. But:
• They may factor attorney fees into their offer – their cost to take the case to trial.
• They may offer less than a jury might give you because they don’t know enough about you and your accident.
• Some times, they offer more than a jury would just to protect the people they insure.
• And of course, they usually don’t open negotiations with their best offer. Sometimes they delay their best offer until after trial begins.
2) 99% of the time, what they are doing is calculated to save their insurance company as much money as possible. The means of doing this vary from company to company – but usually the company wants them to save attorney fees, avoid the costs the company incurs by keeping the file open, and limit the risk of loss by making a reasonable settlement offer.
3) It’s their job. It’s not about being “fair”, so much as it is making their bosses happy. Although to them, that usually involves at least a reasonable appraisal of what a jury would do.
A lot of the time, when someone’s complaining that an adjuster won’t pay them enough, it’s because they are asking much more than a jury will give them. The adjuster’s afraid to get into the area of what’s reasonable, because he thinks that will only encourage excessive demands.
4) People try to take advantage of them all the time. Everyone has heard of the McDonald’s decision, and a lot of people think that the justice system is the new lottery. It isn’t.
5) They are smarter about what they do than you are about what they do. They have available statistics that tell them how the odds of what a jury is likely to do with your case, they know the lawyer they are going to use, they know about the lawyer you may use, they know what they are willing to pay at any point in time, and they have dealt with thousands of people in your exact situation.
6) They don’t know you, so they can’t trust you. An obvious lie or bluff can ruin your credibility.
7) They need information to do their job. People lie to them about medical histories, salaries, and employment status, which is why they ask for authorizations to let them get medical records, work records and 1040’s.
People lie to them about how accidents happen, so they get police reports, record witness statements and investigate thoroughly.
I have been a lawyer over 30 years. I have dealt with insurance adjusters that entire time. If you have a personal injury lawsuit in Cincinnati, Ohio or if you want to know why an adjuster is doing what he is doing, talk with an experienced Cincinnati Injury Lawyer about the case. Call me, William Strubbe, at 513-621-4775.
Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed.