How to Handle Challenging Insurance Adjusters
|How to Handle Challenging Insurance Adjusters|
The majority of adjusters operate like Rock Solid Insurance Corporation's Henry Hard-Nose. They have thick skin and are challenging to work with. Here is a typical verbal exchange that would take place about a month after your previous meeting with the problematic insurance adjuster to try to settle. He had decided then that your shoulder injury was not as severe as your attending physician's Medical Report indicated. (Question: Do they contest the findings of your treating physician's report? Answer: Without a doubt! Take it from Dan, who spent over 30 years in that firing line.
Following your last meeting, which ended "up in the air" and slowly floated around in space, the following is a typical verbal settlement exchange.
First, you should make the following counterargument: You are not a doctor, with all due respect. You are not a qualified medical professional to question my doctor. When we last spoke, you claimed my shoulder was "only a bruise" rather than dislocated. My doctor and I said once more, and he is still adamant that his initial diagnosis was correct. He claims that I unquestionably dislocated my shoulder. I am, however, the best judge of my injuries, how difficult my life has been, and the agony I have had to go through, even without the benefit of his analysis.
Hard-Nose will then attempt his standard maneuver of stopping your reasoning, but you should tense up, wave him off, and say, "Look, let me finish. You owe me that because your insured struck me after flying through a stop sign. You and I both understand that he is entirely at fault so I will have no alternative but to seek a lawyer if this conversation about him taking responsibility for my "pain and discomfort" becomes any more one-sided.
Hard-Nose will get stiffer. You then ask, "How is it, sir, that more than three months have passed since this accident, and there are still instances when I experience tremendous pain? Why am I no longer able to lift things as I used to? The truth is that it makes me hurt, bothered, and incapacitated. I've had to put up with it, but it has been terrible and has severely interrupted my life. I don't consider my shoulder a "mere bruise," sir. My doctor does not concur, either. He claims that my shoulder was unquestionably dislocated and that recovery will take several months.
The aforementioned illustrates your primary strategy for dealing with the unavoidably aggressive and challenging adjuster. Despite not being hostile, you should be firm and assertive. Your presentation should be well-thought-out and rely on the strength and persuasion of a solid demand that is effectively supported and articulated.
Hard-Nose must be questioned on these three issues:(Question 1) How much would you reimburse me for the harm to my car and any other demonstrable property damage? (#2) How much will you pay me for my substantiated lost wages and medical costs? How much compensation will I receive for my handicap and "Pain and Suffering"?
Hard-Nose typically runs away from you rather than giving you a straight response. By asking you a loaded question like, "Okay, what do you think your claim is worth?" he will sidestep and slow waltz.
Because Hard-Nose prefers that you make the settlement demand first, a question like that is expected. Why? Considering that you might ask for less than what he planned to give! Additionally, if you make an excessive demand, he won't have committed to an offer that would have eliminated all room for further discussion. In other words, when you make the settlement demand first rather than he does, Hard-Nose is in the best position to exercise "command and control" over the manipulation (and setting) of the cash amount to be paid. Avoid giving him this advantage!
You should insist on the offer (one that is realistic and made in good faith) coming from him before you make your demand since he must suspect you are near to hiring a lawyer to handle your case for him to win this critical "game." Why? Because at that point, the question is: Will you or Hard-Nose be in charge of determining the value of your claim?
Hard-Nose can't just come up with a fictitious offer, though. You must be persistent and urge that he make the first offer and that it be reasonable. You should only make your first counterdemand in response after that. Never tell him what you're willing to accept until that time. If you do, you risk losing control and significant financial loss.
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