“I like you, but you work for the devil.”
I’ll never forget when a well-respected chiropractor Dr. Smith said this to me.
I was taken back, “why would he think the insurance company was the devil?”
Having worked for insurance companies my entire legal career, I was convinced that the insurance defense was the right position.
I was proud to defend against frivolous lawsuits and people faking injuries to make money. But I could not help but wonder if maybe my belief was short-sighted and there was another side to the story.
Then, I read the book “Delay, Deny Defend” written by Jay Feinman, a professor at Rutgers School of Law. The title alone gave me insight into Dr. Smith’s perspective.
The book states that the claims process was once designed to “pay what is owed.” But beginning in the 1990s, insurance companies realized that their greatest expense was the money paid out in settlements.
If the insurance company could pay less in settlements, they could keep more profits.
Therefore, the claims department became a profit center rather than the place that kept the company’s promise to “pay what is owed.” See “Delay, Deny Defend,” Jay Feinman, p. 5
The book made me see that maybe the chiropractor had a well-founded reason for his belief. I thought, have I been fighting all these years on the wrong side?
I am pleased to report that I no longer work for what Dr. Smith considers to be the devil. Having my own firm, I am free to make decisions without any fear that insurance companies may dislike.
In my view, neither side is the “devil,” but both sides have strengths and weaknesses which I have learned from. I use the knowledge I gained as an insurance company attorney to give my clients a wholistic understanding of the claims and litigation process. Although the insurance company changed its perspective on settling claims,
I have not.
I firmly believe that insurance companies should “pay what is owed.” And consistent with that objective, I will continuously pursue fair compensation for my clients and nothing less.