Angry businesswoman yelling on the phoneIn business, we hear about the importance of customer service. Most businesses are trying to give us a positive experience so that we will pay money for their goods and services. Even when customer service is “bad,” the business didn’t mean to create that negative experience, and the owners do their best to make that a rare (or nonexistent) event.

So, given the fact that businesses we deal with are trying to help and please us, imagine what our reaction might be if a business was actually trying to either create a poor experience for us, or do their best to not deliver what we want? Enter the world of making an insurance claim.

Here’s a hypothetical scenario, based on common facts: Someone has just run a red light, totaled your car, put you in the hospital, blown out your knee, put you in surgery and therapy, and kept you from work. You reach the insurance company (big, reputable, professional company) of the person who hit you to get some help and . . . you get treated like you have some nerve even asking! The word you most likely hear, once you finally reach someone who can give you any answers, is “no!” Maybe not even immediately, but eventually it happens. It takes a while for most of us to figure out that we are, for the first time, dealing with a business which has little or no interest in providing us customer service.

But why the change? Well, that’s easy, when you stop and think about it. Insurance companies make money by collecting premiums–so the sales people (your insurance agent) may actually be trying to give you good customer service, so you will pay them money. But insurance companies lose money when they pay a claim, so that is simply a necessary evil in their business–a liability–so they want to keep those payments as infrequent and low as possible (I don’t blame them).  And the company you have called to make the claim is working for the person who hit you, not for you. That insurance company’s interests and goals for your claim are exactly the opposite of yours. So, probably for the first time in your life, the professional company you are dealing with is your adversary.  So, don’t expect any kind of customer service. You may even have a nice adjuster that is or seems helpful, but the moment your requests are at odds with what the company wants to do, the adjuster must serve the company, not you. You can see how different that is from a normal business transaction.

I am not saying that what the insurance company is doing is wrong, only that when you are making a claim, you must appreciate the adversarial relationship to avoid costly mistakes while making your claim.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact Attorney Kevin Fine with Davis Miles McGuire Gardner at (480) 733-6800 or via email