Have you ever wondered how insurance companies evaluate your personal injury claim from a car accident? You might have thought there was a long, convoluted algorithm they used? In a way, you would be right, but the process is even less personal than you might have imagined. Many major insurance companies like Allstate, USAA, Metlife, Farmers, and Travelers utilize a software program known as Colossus during the claims process.
How does it work?
Colossus is a software program in which adjusters have access to all of their company’s claims data and are able to work in a system that evaluates injuries, treatment, resolution, impairment and damage settlements. The software will ask a series of questions regarding the incident, and guide the claims adjuster through an evaluation, which looks at the injured party’s medical treatment received, the degree of pain and suffering of the injured party, the degree of permanent impairment the claimant now has, and how the injury has impacted the claimant’s lifestyle. After that has all been inputted, Colossus will then provide a summary of the claim, which includes a recommended settlement range.
This system receives most of the information based on the contents of the medical records provided. It will then attribute “severity points” to a person’s injuries and come up with a “severity score.” Once there is a severity score, Colossus uses that calculation to assign a specific dollar amount for the injuries. Other things the program will consider beyond the medical records are the lawyer(s) involved in the case and where the accident occurred.
Computer Services Corporation, the creator of Colossus, claims the insurance company who uses the program can:
- Increase fairness to all customers by ensuring consistent companywide best practices
- Increase your adjusters’ confidence in the negotiation process
- Improve your adjusters’ investigative questioning skills (at all levels, from new adjusters to the most experienced).
While this may be helpful for the insurance company, it will most likely be problematic for the claimant.
Is this program really helpful?
There are many things that this program doesn’t consider. For example, the program does not consider your physical pain, emotional suffering, stress, or other pain and suffering you may be dealing with as a result of the incident. Those factors are often, for you, extremely relevant to your recovery. Additionally, these are factors that a judge or jury would likely consider when evaluating for damages.
Insurance companies are often times not on your side, as they are thinking about the bottom line for them. It is important to have an experienced attorney on your side that can fight for you, and in many cases against the evaluation of a computer program. Your pain and suffering is not merely a score that should be assessed; it is personal to you, and you deserve to be treated as an individual.