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Anyone use AIG Insurance? Please read.

Old 11-15-05, 09:07 PM
  #1  
Anthony King
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Anyone use AIG Insurance? Please read.

On October 28 a driver insured by AIG attempted to make a left turn from a sidestreet onto the road I was travelling as I biked home from work. The driver did not see me when she began her turn, but quickly did and panic stopped directly in my path. Pity, if she had proceeded I would have had a close call but could have avoided contact. As it was all I could do was brake as much as possible until I hit the side of her SUV. It was night. I was using a headlight as always. The driver left the scene of the accident but later returned.

All in all not too bad an accident. I had minor injuries but knew I'd heal up and didn't go to the doctor. My bike had two bent rims and needed wheel rebuilds, a bent front basket and rack, etc. No frame damage. Estimate for my bike was right at $500. My cell phone was crushed against my left thigh and ripped through my pants. I had to rent a bike to get around (I don't own a car). Total--about $800.

The facts of the accident are not in dispute, they are a matter of public record. The police report 2005-043078 is on file at the Bedford, TX Police Department. Officer Bean, who responded to the call was helpful. He informed the driver that she was at fault, that our (I was riding with a co-worker) bikes had lights and were up to code. He treated us as lawful users of the road with all the rights and protections of other users.

Today the person handling the claim at AIG informed me that they have decided at this point to only pay 60% of the claim, citing me as 40% negligent. My 40% consisted of "failing to take evasive action" and not having a front light as required by the Texas Vehicle Code. They claimed I didn't have a front light because when their appraiser came to take pictures of my bike it didn't have a front light. I had of course moved my light to my rental bike. They used my comment that if the motorist would have followed through with the left turn I could have avoided her car to mysteriously conclude that I hadn't taken evasive action.

The first claim is either a bold-faced lie or AIG is the most generious corporation in the world. If they sincerely believed I didn't have a light on my bike they wouldn't (and shouldn't) offer me a single penny. The second claim is either a lie or a ridiculous assertion. Their policyholder pulled out and stopped in front of me into a lane in which I was travelling and in which I had the right of way. Of course I slowed down as much as possible before impact. To state that I did not take evasive action is a pathetic attempt to avoid taking repsonsibility for their policyholder's actions. My riding partner, who was behind me and has a cycle computer on his bike, estimates I was doing 20mph when the SUV pulled in front of me. It is safe to say I would have had serious injuries had I not slowed down.

I also think it is safe to say that the insurance company, while morally atrophied, is not entirely stupid. I would imagine that they may think someone who commutes by bike and has admitted to owning no car is strapped for cash and might jump at the first sum offered him. In any case I feel as if they are treating a cyclist as an inferior user of the road, which is why I think this should interest you. They are telling me, in essence, that I need to prove I had a light. They say they have not looked at the police report, which they say they have ordered but not received (interesting, I was able to view it Nov. 2). I asked if the police report NOT mentioning I had no light would be sufficificient evidence that I had one, seeing that the accident was at night and surely a vehicle not having a light would be worthy of mention in the police report. I was informed that would not be sufficient because I was a bicycle, not a vehicle. So I am a vehicle when it suits their needs (the vehicle code) and not one when it doesn't (the obvious deduction any half-way intelligent person could glean from the police report). You get my drift.

Luckily I am sure I can contact the officer and he will testify to the company that I had on a light. I am not sure how I can prove of disprove their second dubious claim. The motorist in the accident has told me in a telephone converstation she told AIG I had a light. She didn't seem to me as if she was lying.

If you use AIG National Insurance for any reason, are a cyclist, or just a decent human being and feel cyclists should be treated as equal users of the roadway, I encourage you to contace AIG Insurance. Perhaps you'd like to switch, or are considering switching, insurance providers because of the dishonorable way they are handling claim number 0500453689.

If you are a fact checker or an AIG lawyer I encourage you to check all my facts. As I've said, they are a matter of public record and unlike AIG's assertions, every single word is true.

Cheers,
Anthony King
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Old 11-15-05, 09:22 PM
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If the motorist left the scene, she should face hit-&-run charges, shouldn't she?
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Old 11-15-05, 09:40 PM
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Send her a bill for the damage. Don't listen to the AIG people, they will not be objective. Their interest is minimizing their exposure. If she doesn't pay, consider small claims.
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Old 11-15-05, 09:48 PM
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That's why god invented lawyers.
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Old 11-15-05, 09:50 PM
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What Henry said. The driver is liable for her actions. AIG determines how much of HER BILL they pay. It's still HER BILL. SHE is AIG's client, NOT YOU. Politely explain to the lady that AIG isn't willing to pay the 40% that she's liable for. And beware signing anything (including the check).

Sure you don't have any lingering neck/back/soft tissue pain?
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Old 11-15-05, 09:57 PM
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It's an insurance company. Fair doesn't exist. They are merely asserting that a particular set of facts isn't true (to their advantage). It's part of their business model. You just need to know how to write a claim and talk to these embiciles. I had three claims against others paid 100% because I know their catch phrases. Once the paper is written you're done.
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Old 11-15-05, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by rideabike
That's why god invented lawyers.

sad but true! first I'm glad that you are physically okay. Next I'm grateful that the cops treated you with respect instead of shining you on, as a lot of cops will do with cyclists. and lastly unfortunately it sounds as if you will need a personal injury lawyer that is skilled with cyclists. Best of Luck! I'm hoping for
Justice for you.
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Old 11-15-05, 10:03 PM
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You have three witnesses who saw a light on your bike: You, your riding partner, and the police officer. You also have the police report as evidence. Inform the lowballer (that's what he does for a living) that he will issue a check in the full amount by such and such date, or your attorney will be filing a lawsuit against the driver. Because she's insured, they'll be handling-- i.e., paying for-- the defense. He knows that no jury is going to find you 40% at fault. You have all the evidence, and he has squat, and he knows he has squat. So give him a deadline, and make sure he understands that you're serious. Oh, and the damages in a lawsuit will be including pain and suffering, because your attorney needs to get paid as well, so if they want to get off easy, they can write a check for the property damage and call themselves lucky that you're not asking for pain and suffering damages today.
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Old 11-15-05, 10:10 PM
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Yep, this ain't AIG, this is the insurance industry.

If you want to get a fair payout, you'd best retain counsel. You may get some traction by having your lawyer send them a letter on letterhead stating the facts of the case, the relevant legal code (ie, that a bicycle is a legally recognized vehicle, etc), and the intent to pursue full compensation.

Of course AIG is a big fish and that may not phase them at all but on the other hand they have actuaries and accountants who know that at that point it's probably not worth fighting a $1000 claim (attorney inflation).
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Old 11-15-05, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by bostontrevor
Of course AIG is a big fish and that may not phase them at all but on the other hand they have actuaries and accountants who know that at that point it's probably not worth fighting a $1000 claim (attorney inflation).
There's no way in hell their legal department is going to let this go to trial over $300. Legal bills alone will run in the thousands.
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Old 11-15-05, 10:22 PM
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Remember, it's an insurance settlement. It's in the company's best interest to pay out as little as possible, so they usually will low-ball you in their first offer.

But that's all it is, an offer. You don't have to accept it. Demand more, and explain to them your reasoning. Tell them why the light is no longer on the bike, emphasize that the police report contradicts their assertion. They will come around when they become convinced a court battle would not conclude in their favour.
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Old 11-15-05, 10:25 PM
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Take it to small claims court. It won't cost you anything (maybe a small filing fee). This money is way too small for a lawyer to take this on contingency. And a lawyer isn't going to move unless you front up a couple grand. So take it to small claims court.

Make sure you can prove your damages with reciepts, not your opinions. Read up about small claims court in your state. If you're a student in a university with a law school perhaps they have a program to help you assemble your case. Also, the small claims court clerks are pretty helpful with the forms. Notify the insurance company that you disagree (and use nice short simple language-get nasty and they know you're bluffing) and will persue this in small claims court. The difference between you and them is what, $300? It's going to cost them much more to send an attorney for this.

So don't get all worked up over this. It's sort of a ritual. Insurance companies want to minimise their out flows and victims want to maximise their in flows. You are entitled to actual damages and they are required to pay actual damages. And the actual damages are proven by hard copy reciepts and estimates. Make sure you get them.
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Old 11-15-05, 10:36 PM
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Thanks for the advice. I'll get a lawyer if I need to, but I'm a pretty good advocate for myself. I will get 100% of my claim one way or the other.

I'm actually writing to let people know that if they use AIG this is who they're giving money to, not for advice how to get the settlement I deserve, though I appreciate said advice.

Does it matter to AIG? Probably not. But I've just never been one to say "That's just the way things are" and take it. I don't have a tone of dough or lawyers on retainer, but I can write, so I wrote. They wanna mess with me over three hundred bucks? Fine. Perhaps one person reads this and doesn't renew their insurance with AIG.
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Old 11-15-05, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by unkchunk
Take it to small claims court. It won't cost you anything (maybe a small filing fee). This money is way too small for a lawyer to take this on contingency. And a lawyer isn't going to move unless you front up a couple grand. So take it to small claims court.

Make sure you can prove your damages with reciepts, not your opinions. Read up about small claims court in your state. If you're a student in a university with a law school perhaps they have a program to help you assemble your case. Also, the small claims court clerks are pretty helpful with the forms. Notify the insurance company that you disagree (and use nice short simple language-get nasty and they know you're bluffing) and will persue this in small claims court. The difference between you and them is what, $300? It's going to cost them much more to send an attorney for this.

So don't get all worked up over this. It's sort of a ritual. Insurance companies want to minimise their out flows and victims want to maximise their in flows. You are entitled to actual damages and they are required to pay actual damages. And the actual damages are proven by hard copy reciepts and estimates. Make sure you get them.
I agree-- An attorney will need to be paid, and a claim for $800 in property damage won't pay an attorney. Typically, he'll get 30% of the damages, which in this case would work out to $240. Not worth an attorney's time, because it will take a lot of hours to prepare for trial. The only way to get an attorney to handle this is if there's a big enough payout on pain and suffering (i.e., 30% of damages will need to be enough to compensate the attorney for the time it will take to bring this to trial. Not that the attorney is being greedy-- it's just that nobody can afford to work for pennies per hour.)

The problem with small claims court is that attorneys aren't allowed to appear in small claims court. I'm not sure what that means for the driver. She's insured, so they're supposed to represent her if she's sued. If you take her to small claims court, they may get it booted into regular court, where they can then take over the case. Then you'd have to find a lawyer, only the claim may be too small to find a lawyer. This is all speculation on my part, but it's something to think about. You should probably get a consultation with a lawyer and ask a lot of questions. Sometimes you can get a free consultation, but even if you can't get a free consultation, you won't be paying much for it, relatively speaking, and you'll get some valuable legal advice.
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Old 11-16-05, 06:42 AM
  #15  
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AIG is notorious for their unwillingness to pay claims (and their creative attempts to get out of paying said claims) and/or their tendency to drag things out for quite some time (in hopes of making it too expensive for the claimant legal fees-wise).
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Old 11-16-05, 09:12 AM
  #16  
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I also live in the DFW area.

Listen, don't waste your time arguing. They are documenting every call and everything you say. Get a lawyer now. And I think your back is starting to hurt.
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Old 11-16-05, 09:27 AM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by Blue Order
I agree-- An attorney will need to be paid, and a claim for $800 in property damage won't pay an attorney. . . The only way to get an attorney to handle this is if there's a big enough payout on pain and suffering.
why not talk to a lawyer. many will do a free consultation and tell you if it's a worthwhile claim. it could easily be worth a lawyer's time - and yours - to pursue it. Plus, that will get AIG's attention . . . and you your money.
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Old 11-16-05, 10:01 AM
  #18  
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In my limited experience with insurance companies, I've noticed a couple things...

First off, never even mention the word lawyer unless you've already gotten one. Because once you do, they will stop co-operating.

Secondly, it's far easier to settle this without lawyers. Give them the chance to do the right thing. I mean, you'll have to make a lot of phone calls and send letters/faxes (probably multiple times for the same one since they seem to get "lost" a lot) but once you get lawyers involved it can take quite a long time to get it straightened out.

Az
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Old 11-16-05, 11:51 AM
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Anthony

First, sorry to hear of your accident, regardless of whose fault it is.

Second, have you ever bought something at say a garage sale? You know, it says on the sticker, a price, say $1.00. You offer, say $0.50. This is how insurance companies treat you (especially you a non-motor vehicle owner). Regardless of what you feel you need, they will always offer you less. Why? Because there is no penalty for trying. There are people that will take what they get. Or don't want to argue or fight over it. Or just want to be done with it.

I know this from an ex-spouse that worked (still does) in insurance. At one time for five years, in Dallas. She was told to pick claims to deny, just to see if they would get an argument. They even had unwritten rules on how to chose. There were people that quit rather than be so unethical. They were told the rules were to weed out potentially fradulent claims. The rules were so broad any or evey claim could be rejected if desired. Eventually the ex did too. Now she just sells the blinking insurance instead of deals with the claims.

Third, the minute you agree on a figure, you are telling the insurance company that all is well. In effect they buy you off once, and the case is done. The problem is as others like Cast Iron Mike have pointed out, you may not be done. Your knee could mysteriously begin to ache. Or your back. I'm not talking about faking an injury.

I was hit from behind by a car while commuting home one afternoon. It took about 14 months for the back injury to show. Was there a direct connection? Impossible to tell, but the only significant situation that might have contributed to a significant back injury was the accident. Try telling that to an insurance bean counter. There is people that try to defraud insurance companies. It doesn't mean its you. They just *will* treat you as one.

And it all sucks. I mean the accident is bad enough, why does the stuff afterward need to add to it? My advice? Get a lawyer, as little as I like to say that. Cover yourself. Your health is worth it.
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Old 11-16-05, 12:32 PM
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I have run into a similar problem. I was not at fault in an accident, i didnot caryy collision on the vehicle cause it was old. The at fault drivers insurance came at me with similar stories. I called my insurance and since i did not have collision they would not get involved.

Basically if an insurance company realizes that the opponent does not have legal advise at low cost (ie they are not insured then the come after you real quick). To save there money.

I would check to see if any of the household insurance may cover your loss (to any extent) then your insurance will have to sort it out with the other guys (cheap legal action)

Otherwise sue the the bastards
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Old 11-16-05, 03:20 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by CHenry
Send her a bill for the damage. Don't listen to the AIG people, they will not be objective. Their interest is minimizing their exposure. If she doesn't pay, consider small claims.
No kidding. If they are going to pull some 60% figure out of their ass, why don't you root around yours for a number, say 140%.
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Old 11-17-05, 03:30 PM
  #22  
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Well, good to see ignorance is still alive and well when it comes to isurance claims. Do you see me offering medical advice? No, because I am not a doctor. But that doesn't stop many of you from offering advice on insurance claims, even though you have no idea what's going on.

Comparative liability is a sticky issue. They have determined that you (the cyclist)should have been able to avoid this loss. By law, they should have put this in writing, along with their reasoning. Your job at this point, since you are not represented, is to prove that they are wrong. You said she was making a left? Which direction were you travelling, and which direction was she facing? Did she have a stop sign? How far away were you when you saw her? Did she have her indicator on? Provide the facts, and I am happy to help you draft a letter. The fact that she stopped actually helps your claim. Where did you impact her vehicle? Has she given a statement? Ask if you can get a copy of it. She'll say she didn't see you at all, or didn't see you until she pulled out. You'll want to know what it was that made her notice you.

You don't need a lawyer, unless you are injured. You won't find one to take on your damage claim. You don't need to send her any letters, as she's required to forward them to her carrier anyway. Taking her to small claims court will be a waste of time until you can establish liability 100% on her. Any injury claim you make is completely separate from a damage claim, and they cannot tie them together in any way. They're going to want 40% of her damages - legally they still need to pay you the 60%, they cannot withhold it if you refuse to pay her damages.

I'm happy to help in any way I can. You can post here or PM me. As I stated already, because you have no insurance, it will be up to you to prove that you have no liability here. That is the only thing that will change the outcome of this. To everyone that thinks insurance companies are all out to rip you off, pull your head out. You don't have all the facts. As I read it so far, they're certainly within their rights to put some liability on the cyclist. Now we just need to prove them wrong.

Cheers.
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Old 11-17-05, 05:04 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Expatriate
Well, good to see ignorance is still alive and well when it comes to isurance claims. Do you see me offering medical advice? No, because I am not a doctor. But that doesn't stop many of you from offering advice on insurance claims, even though you have no idea what's going on.

Comparative liability is a sticky issue. They have determined that you (the cyclist)should have been able to avoid this loss. By law, they should have put this in writing, along with their reasoning. Your job at this point, since you are not represented, is to prove that they are wrong. You said she was making a left? Which direction were you travelling, and which direction was she facing? Did she have a stop sign? How far away were you when you saw her? Did she have her indicator on? Provide the facts, and I am happy to help you draft a letter. The fact that she stopped actually helps your claim. Where did you impact her vehicle? Has she given a statement? Ask if you can get a copy of it. She'll say she didn't see you at all, or didn't see you until she pulled out. You'll want to know what it was that made her notice you.

You don't need a lawyer, unless you are injured. You won't find one to take on your damage claim. You don't need to send her any letters, as she's required to forward them to her carrier anyway. Taking her to small claims court will be a waste of time until you can establish liability 100% on her. Any injury claim you make is completely separate from a damage claim, and they cannot tie them together in any way. They're going to want 40% of her damages - legally they still need to pay you the 60%, they cannot withhold it if you refuse to pay her damages.

I'm happy to help in any way I can. You can post here or PM me. As I stated already, because you have no insurance, it will be up to you to prove that you have no liability here. That is the only thing that will change the outcome of this. To everyone that thinks insurance companies are all out to rip you off, pull your head out. You don't have all the facts. As I read it so far, they're certainly within their rights to put some liability on the cyclist. Now we just need to prove them wrong.

Cheers.
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Old 11-17-05, 05:14 PM
  #24  
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To everyone that thinks insurance companies are all out to rip you off, pull your head out.
In these parts insurance companies are for-profit enterprises with a long and distiguished history of looking after their own interests first, and nothing second. Only a fool would discount that.
As I read it so far, they're certainly within their rights to put some liability on the cyclist. Now we just need to prove them wrong.
You have a fair point, but alas, proof exceeding the standards for civil cases has already been offered. It's now up to the company to impeach it.
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Originally Posted by cedricbosch View Post
It looks silly when you have quotes from other forum members in your signature. Nobody on this forum is that funny.
Originally Posted by cedricbosch View Post
Why am I in your signature.
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Old 11-17-05, 05:17 PM
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Brian
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Originally Posted by webist
Darn A "fair" assessment. What fun is that?
We've gone over this in other threads. Here was my example: You come up to a stop sign, and as you pull away, you notice the person to your right is not going to stop, and they're going to cross your path. You continue anyway, and collide with them. Who is at fault? The other party, obviously. Who is liable? If you saw them, knew that you could take action to avoid the collision, but did not, then you will have to share liability. It's very touchy, but like it or not, it's a fact.

I'm here as an advocate for cyclists, offering my 10 years claims experience. Take it or leave it, I have nothing to gain.
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