Ask Andy: Auto-insurance "robo-claims" - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Ask Andy: Auto-insurance "robo-claims"

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By Andy Wise - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS (WMC-TV) - If an insurance adjuster's using a certain computer program to generate your auto accident claim, one consumer watchdog said bet on getting low-balled.

The Consumer Federation of America (http://www.consumerfed.org/) issued a consumer alert, warning that certain computer systems used by some insurance companies are designed to "...make unfair 'low-ball' (payment) offers" on auto accident injury claims.

"By adjusting their computer systems to generate claims' 'savings' without adequately examining the validity of each claim, these automated claims systems can result in unfairly low payments to consumers," said J. Robert Hunter, CFA's director of insurance, in a news release Dec. 9.

Hunter singled out the claims computer program Colossus, manufactured by CSC of Falls Church, VA (http://www.csc.com/). Popularized by Allstate Insurance, Colossus is described as the insurance industry's "most flexible bodily injury product" on CSC's corporate website.

A voice mail message Action News 5 left with CSC's Director of Media Relations Chris Grandis
was not immediately returned. But on its site, the company disclosed, "CSC has formed an exclusive alliance with the American Medical Association. The AMA periodically reviews Colossus and the Colossus reference system to ensure accuracy and up-to-date medical information."

Allstate Insurance Agent Mike Heffernan of Cordova, TN, said it is Allstate's policy to disclose the use of Colossus to its customers and to explain its process.

The CFA's Hunter advised consumers to ask their insurance providers if they use Colossus and how it calculates claims offers for bodily injuries.

He also recommended consumers request a range of high and low offers from the responsible insurer, similar to getting multiple estimates on an auto repair. He also suggested consumers refuse low offers generated by insurance computer programs and file complaints with state insurance regulators if an insurer does not agree to a high offer. 

TENNESSEE:  Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance, www.tennessee.gov/commerce.

MISSISSIPPI:  Mississippi Insurance Department, http://www.mid.state.ms.us/.

ARKANSAS:  Arkansas Insurance Department, http://insurance.arkansas.gov/.

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