One of the dirty secrets of the insurance industry is its use of Colossus and similar software programs designed to “calculate” the settlement value of personal injury claims stemming from automobile accidents. Because insurance companies generally like to keep its use of such programs secret, we can only estimate its importance. Today, it is presumed that more than half of the large well-known insurance carriers are using Colossus or one of its offshoots. Though these insurance companies claim that the use of such programs are only an initial evaluation tool to assist its adjusters in determining the value of a particular settlement, Colossus, and its progeny, are being used to low-ball the injured and brainwash adjusters into believing one case is the same as another.
Colossus is a formula based program that is designed to provide a recommended settlement range to its users based on the information that is entered or “input”. The largest problem with these programs is the data that is “input”. The information that is fed to the software is limited and at the complete discretion of the adjuster. In other words, if the adjuster believes your treatment was excessive, the adjuster will only input the treatment period he/she feels is appropriate. Of course this is not based on any medical finding since the adjuster is not a doctor and has never examined you, but rather the adjuster’s own “experience.” It’s worth noting that much of the adjuster’s experience is based on his/her prior use of the program … and so the cycle continues. The practice of allowing the adjusters to input information at their discretion has the larger effect of reducing the benchmark or baseline values that, in turn, lowers the range the program ultimately spits out for any one particular case.
Colossus and similar programs do not consider the true extent of a victim’s injury, particularly his/her pain and suffering – these are only formulas. Unlike a judge or jury who tends to listen to the victim’s story and truly understand it, Colossus is nothing more than a formula based computer program that only receives the portion of the victim’s story that the adjuster thinks is “publish worthy”. Additionally, the program does not consider such additional factors like what direction you may have been looking when the impact occurred; how tall you are and where the seats headrest was positioned; or whether or not you knew the impact was coming in advance and if that prior knowledge caused you to tighten or tense up before impact.
One of the groups fighting against the use of Colossus, and similar computer programs, is the Consumer Federation of America (“CFA”). The CFA is an association of non-profit consumer organizations established to research, advocate, and educate. In December 2010, the CFA released a “Consumer Alert” warning those injured in automobile collisions about the insurance industries use of these software programs.
If you have been hurt in an automobile accident due to no fault of your own, don’t let the insurance company reduce your pain, injury, and inconvenience down to a mere formula. Overcoming an insurance adjuster’s use and reliance on Colossus can be a daunting task. Attorney Robert Poundstone of POUNDSTONE SCOTTEN, PLLC spent nearly two decades working for several large insurance carriers. Much of his time working in the insurance industry was spent as a claims adjuster so he is very familiar with predictive modeling software like Colossus and the ways in which it is used against the injured. His experience and “inside baseball” knowledge is the envy of other personal injury attorneys. Call POUNDSTONE SCOTTEN, PLLC for a free consultation today.
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