Maximizing damages and settlements – Lesson 4
Excerpted from How Insurance Companies Settle Cases by David Frangiamore
Sample letter and analysis
You should write to the home office or president of the insurance company only when you have been ignored by the local claims department. State your position. You have been ignored!
Enclose a list of the dates when you phoned the claims representative without a response and send copies of correspondence which requested a response.
Always solicit cooperation and assistance and always state a reasonable time limit for response.
Correspondence sent to the president or the home office should be registered or certified mail.
A well-documented letter should produce a response within three working days.
Sample: Letter to the Home Office of Insurance Company
Mel Practice, Esquire
123 Hope Lane
Brick Wall Insurance Co.
Mr. Donald Madd, V.P. Claims
1001 Buck Stops Drive, Suite 1150
Hartford, CT 02133
Re: Your Insured: John Unlucky
Your Claim No: X321
Your Policy No: 33221100
Date of Accident: January 1, 20__
Accident Location: Lost, USA
My Client: Bob Dollar
My File No: CX 1244
Dear Mr. Madd:
Your insurance company representative, Mr. Carl Help, (Phone # (206) 555-1212) has made promises to pay some of my client’s emergency expenses, but has not honored his word, nor your insurance company’s word, to date.
I have sent letters to your claims representative on Jan. 15, 20__; Feb. 3, 20__, and Feb. 27, 20__. All of these letters have gone unanswered. Enclosed are copies of all my letters to your company’s representative.
Additionally, I have left phone messages with Mr. Help’s secretary, Linda Blue, on Jan. 12, 20__, Feb. 1, 20__ and Feb. 20, 22, 26, 20__. All of my phone messages have gone unanswered.
If your policy holder ignored three letters and five messages regarding premiums due your insurance company, would you cancel that insured’s policy? Unfortunately, my client, the claimant, can’t cancel your insurance company.
As you can see from my enclosed letters, my client is about to lose his job, and can’t get badly needed medical attention because of your insured’s reckless driving behavior.
Your current advertising spots on the radio and TV promise that you treat the public as a good friend and the public is in your good hands. Your conduct (or lack thereof) is not good evidence of being well-handled or friendly.
My client just wants his car replaced, some temporary transportation, an advance so he can pay his rent and eat. All of these expenses have, to date, been promised by your company representative, Mr. Help. Additionally, Mr. Help has promised an advance so Mr. Dollar can seek medical help so he can get well. Mr. Dollar has no money. Your company has strung Mr. Dollar out to his last penny.
But for your insured’s careless driving, and more important, your company representative’s breached promises, my client would not be losing the enjoyment of life that he enjoyed before the accident with your insured, Mr. Unlucky.
Please call your adjuster, Mr. Help, and ask him to issue the drafts he has promised for the past two months.
How would you feel if you had no money for rent, no job, no medical treatment and no car? Place yourself in Mr. Dollar’s shoes for five minutes.
One way or the other, please take care of these injustices today. A simple phone call to Mr. Help should solve this problem.
Very truly yours,
Attorney at Law
Insurance Commissioner’s Office
This letter is designed to remove all possible excuses that “Home Office” could come up with in order not to solve Mr. Dollar’s problem today. Note that the attorney gave Home Office the adjuster’s phone number in the first sentence of the letter. Also, the letter enclosed copies of all the attorney’s letters to the adjuster for the months of Jan. and Feb. This is “hard” evidence that the adjuster is in deep trouble. There is rarely an excuse for ignoring anyone for two months.
More important, the attorney’s letter explains the devastating consequences of the adjuster’s ignoring the attorney’s phone calls, letters and the claimant’s (Mr. Dollar) problems.
Last, the letter applies the “YOU” standard. E.g., How would you feel if you were down-and-out with no job, no money, no car, etc.?
The above advice came from…
How to Negotiate with Insurance Companies
Speed the processing of your claims and reduce your frustration with insurance companies. How Insurance Companies Settle Cases will teach you:
Insurance company settlement techniques to watch out for
Aspects of claims frequently questioned by insurance companies
Insurance policy defenses and coverage issues
How to communicate with insurance companies
Duties owed by insurance companies
How to deal effectively with adjusters
How insurance companies process claims
Adjusters’ most popular negotiating techniques
How reserves and indexing systems work
What insurance companies look for in their investigations
How insurance companies seek to limit coverage