As an ex-adjuster, I would like to share the most useful techniques I employed when settling injury claims. The first technique is often referred to as Dancing Chairs. The second technique, I referred to “Think Money! Not things.” Dancing Chairs is a very common technique used against the unsuspecting insureds and/or claimants.
Adjusters love to “change”, “reassign”, and/or “exchange” claims among them. Many times the adjuster’s supervisor steps in and reassigns the claim with no explanation to you. The real explanation is that the points already settled are not beneficial to the insurance company so they will want a “re-do.” How can they do this?
They simply reassign the claim. This makes you renegotiate already-settled points if they are not in writing. Dealing with different adjusters helps the insurance company isolate different issues. For example, one adjuster will settle the total loss, and another will settle fault, and a third one will settle the injury.
This way, insurance adjusters can “throw” the ball among themselves, and they do not have to give you a straight answer. They can tell you “Well sir, I think the answer is “A,” but you need to talk to the X adjuster about that, and he is out of the office for a week.”
You cannot really prevent this situation, as they will reassign claims without notice to you, but the best thing you can do is to put everything they settle or tell you in writing. If they tell you that they will pay for your rental car, send them a letter telling them you understand they will pay for your rental car (you could do this also by email – just be careful with how you phrase things via email).
This way, when the claim is reassigned, you can point to your correspondence and show that the insurance company agreed to something (e.g., pay your rental car) and they have to live up to their promise. If you are not documenting everything in writing, they will take advantage of the situation.
The second technique, Think Money! Not Things, really allows the adjuster to change the “shape of the money.” “I am very sorry that you had a headache and lower back pain for more than two weeks. That is certainly a shame. We only can give you, at the very most, $2500, which can pay for a trip to Mexico for two. Why don’t you treat yourself and take your wife on a nice Caribbean cruise?”
Well, you can get yourself a Coach bag and a nice diamond necklace for that amount and have money left over. That amount buys a lot these days! This is very powerful. Adjusters do this every day and many people start thinking in terms of trips and electronics.
If the adjuster is settling a younger person, the offer would be $250 for an IPhone 4s, or A Play Station 3. If the offer is $500, maybe an Ipad third generation would do the trick.
This “helps” the injured party “spend the money in their heads,” and makes them want to settle. Remember, you are settling for pain, fault, or the total loss of your car. You want money, not iPods, cruises, laptops, or video games.
Do not fall for this. Think in terms of real dollars! There is simply too much at stake.
For more information about injury settlements, or for an answer to yo your auto claim question,