If you have been involved in an automobile collision where another person is at-fault their insurance company may use a computer program known as Colossus to evaluate your claim. Many insurance companies including Allstate, Farmers, The Hartford, Travelers, USAA, Zurich, Ohio Casualty, Metropolitan, and Aetna use Colossus. Colossus was first licensed by Allstate as a way to standardize claims and to save money on claims payments. Colossus also identifies lawyers who file lawsuits and will litigate your case and conversely those who are known to settle claims for the best offer insurance companies give. Colossus attributes a higher value to your claim when you are represented by a lawyer who is experienced and who will proceed with litigation on your behalf when an insurance company is unwilling to fairly resolve your claim. At Paoli Law Firm we do exactly that for our clients.
If you have been the victim of an automobile collision and the at-fault person's insurance company uses Colossus you may receive a letter which is likely (and ironically) computer generated and will read as follows (or similar):
One of the tools that our claim personnel may use in evaluating your claim is a computer program known as Colossus, licensed by Computer Sciences Corporation. Colossus uses a broad range of information about your injury, treatment, and prognosis to determine the severity of your injury. Based on this information, Colossus makes a recommendation as to the value of your injury. The Colossus recommendation is only one factor among many that our adjusters consider in reaching a decision as to the overall evaluation of the claim. It is their goal to reach that decision promptly, fairly, and based on an appropriate investigation of the facts and circumstances of your claim.
This letter may seem like the insurance company is trying to be helpful and is looking out for your best interests. However, there is much more to know about Colossus than the insurance company is telling you.
Colossus is a software program auto insurance companies use to assist in calculating the settlement value of auto accident injury claims. Depending on the insurance company, the weight the insurance adjuster will give to the Colossus calculation may differ. Less experienced adjusters may follow it very closely while others will use it as a guide to determine the value of your claim.
Some of the information the insurance adjuster will enter into Colossus includes:
- Information from your medical providers' records including your injuries and diagnoses.
- The reputation and experience of your lawyer (as discussed above).
- The jurisdiction where the claim is brought.
Some insurance companies that use Colossus have policies that require the lawyer to make claims for specific damages in order for these factors and claims to be entered into Colossus for consideration. It is absolutely imperative that the entirety of the information regarding your damages be correctly and completely communicated to the insurance adjuster. Simply providing the insurance adjuster with a copy of your medical records will not be sufficient to maximize the value of your claim. The entirety of the investigative information and medical records must be organized and summarized in a fashion that makes it as easy as possible for the insurance adjuster to input the data in Colossus. The more information that is correctly and completely conveyed to the adjuster will help in securing the maximum value of your claim. Additionally, an experienced attorney can assist you in identifying the damages you are entitled to compensation for and representing these damages to the insurance company. These include damages above and beyond those included in the Colossus evaluation.
Once the insurance adjuster inputs whatever data he/she feels necessary into the Colossus software program, it returns a settlement range based only on that information.
Often, adjusters themselves don't even fully understand Colossus and the rules by which it attributes value to the information input. Unfortunately, often adjusters don't care to understand because they are more concerned with the bottom line - paying out as little as possible.
Some of the main problems with the use of Colossus include:
- Colossus essentially removes the individuality of your claim.
- Colossus only considers the data input by the adjuster. If the adjuster fails to input or enter certain data into the software, a part of your claim may not be considered.
- Colossus is not capable of evaluating your interference with your normal life activities, inconvenience, stress, loss of enjoyment of life, etc.
- Colossus is not capable of evaluating your pain and suffering. The Colossus software simply cannot take the place of a person and the understanding of another human's pain and suffering.
- Colossus does not take evaluate loss of consortium.
- Colossus does not take personal testimony, including medical testimony, into consideration.
- Colossus does not take into consideration that jury may award you more than the "average" claimant.
- Often an insurance adjuster is "stuck" with the results provided by Colossus and if the adjuster varies from the results he/she may not receive certain benefits of reward programs, may receive adverse evaluations, or may not receive as much merit pay.
- A computer, not a person, is left to quantify your damages.
At Paoli Law Firm we use our experience and expertise to represent our client's damages. We believe each case is unique and each claim should be treated as such. We will work on your behalf to represent your damages, including those that Colossus is not able to analyze and place a value on, in order to achieve a fair resolution of your claim that recognizes the damages you have suffered.