Colossus is a computer program that values personal injury claims for at least half of the insurance claims in the United States. Colossus was used by the Government Insurance Office of Australia in the 80s and was licensed and popularized by Allstate in the 90s. Allstate turned to Colossus, developed by Computer Sciences Corporation because they wanted to standardize and simply what their adjusters evaluated. Allstate also turned to Colossus because it was billed as a means save money on payouts. Though Colossus, Allstate also figured out that most plaintiffs' lawyer - and Colossus identifies those lawyers - will not file a lawsuit in most cases and are willing to settle for the best offer that they can get. There are two similar products widely used by insurance companies: "Claims Outcome Advisor" (made by Insurance Services Office) and "Claims IQ" (made by Mitchell International.) Mitchell also sells "Mitchell DecisionPoint," a Colossus type software program that helps insurance companies determine if they should pay the doctor's entire bill in PIP/med pay claims.
How Colossus Values Claims
Colossus considers a number of preliminary matters before looking at your individual case and injuries. Colossus considers whether your attorneys have a record of taking their cases to court if they get an inferior offer or whether they always just take the best offer given by the insurance company. It considers the jurisdiction in which the claim arises. Importantly, Colossus contains approximately 600 injury codes representing the various types of personal injuries that can occur. These injury codes have a "severity value" and Colossus assigns money for each severity point the plaintiff "earns", so to speak. Colossus performs a calculation to attribute severity points to plaintiff's claims. After consideration to the personal injury attorneys involved and the settlements and verdicts in the venue, the system counts up the points and converts them to a dollar value. There is no question that a big value driver for Colossus - and for juries, incidentally - is a permanent injury.
Tips on Each Insurance Company
By using Colossus, insurance companies will try to decrease the value of your claim, and will not take into consideration the X-factors: stress, pain, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium (relationship), inability to participate in the things that you enjoy most, or any number of other things that a juries and even judges will consider.
Essentially, the problem with Colossus is the that it cannot take the place of human beings understanding of human suffering. A computer just cannot get that. Occasionally, this paradoxically helps clients because Colossus and similar computerized systems that compute approximate values for personal injury cases incorrectly assume that a specific injury had a greater impact on the patient than it really did. Sometimes we will get a particularly unsympathetic injured client who was not impacted a great deal by their significant injury. This client does better with such an unfeeling system.
But more likely, the opposite occurs. There is no computer value that can ascertain the pain and suffering, how an injury really impacted a person's life. Accordingly, your accident attorney must adequately articulate why your case is different or be prepared to file suit and begin battle with the insurance company. Judges and juries listen to and consider many of the factors that Colossus ignores because it does not understand them. Maryland juries make distinctions based upon whether or not they think the plaintiff is an honest good person who has suffered as a result of their injuries. Colossus barely distinguishes between a heroin addict and nun. Juries definitely get the difference.
In fact, Maryland juries are really the antithesis of Colossus. A jury in, for example, in downtown Baltimore, might not award damages for a L4/L5 lumbar (back) herniated disc. The medical terminology and the treating doctor's explanation of the injury might not resonate with them. But that jury comprised of human beings will award money damages because the injury victim's back hurts so much that she cannot hold her 18 month-old daughter without pain. No rules-based computer program is every going to understand that.
The other thing that Colossus does is overlook and place ridiculous limits on the values of cases where subjective reporting of symptoms are critical to diagnosis. Migrane headaches that are debhiliating are overlooked by Colossus. Another good example of this is reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)/a complex regional painsyndrome (CRPS). There have been millions of dollars of verdicts in these case and there are no serious CRPS deniers anymore. Still, CPRS never gets an remotely reasonable value from Colossus. When we have cases like this with an insurance company that relies heavily on Colossus, we often just file a lawsuit instead of sending in a demand package. Because we know how it is going to go.
Making Colossus Even Worse: Insurance Companies
Many insurance companies take this flawed computer system and rig it further against plaintiffs by pulling out higher-cost claims from data that spits our the results. So if you are pulling numbers to put into the system, you pull out the outlier jury verdicts - which have an huge impact on averages - and large settlements that would increase the valuations. It is classic "garbage in, garbage out" in terms of who the claims are valued. Insurance companies also encourage insurance adjusters with very little medical training to second guess the patient's treating doctor. Some adjusters are encouraged to alter important details of medical reports and select injury codes that will yield smaller settlement offers. The best way to do this is encouraging the adjuster to screw around with the final prognosis codes. The dynamic here is clear: a bad computer evaluation system is being engineered to give even lower results.
Do You Need Help Fighting Your Colossus Offer
If you are an injury victim or another lawyer fighting an insurance company spitting out a ridiculous Colossus offer, we may be able to help you. Call our lawyers at 800-553-8082 or get more information about your claim for free without any cost of obligation.
Learn More About Dealing with Colossus and Allstate
- Settling Auto Accident Claims with Allstate (thoughts on settlements and trials with Allstate) [Learn More Here]
- Valuing Personal Injury Cases (how much is your case worth?) [Learn More Here]
- Colossus and Allstate (Allstate named by American Association of Justice as worst insurance company to deal with in the country) [Learn More Here]
- Sample Demand Letter (letter to insurance company for settlement) [Learn More Here]
- Personal Injury FAQ (common questions from victims) [Learn More Here]
- Maryland Accident Lawyer Help Center (information for Maryland accident lawyers handling cases against Allstate and other insurance companies) [Learn More Here]
- Lawyers and Colossus (USA Lawyers Weekly discussion of how personal injury lawyers fail to fully understand Colossus) [Learn More Here]
- Sample Interrogatories from Allstate (car accident interrogatories from Allstate in a lawsuit) [Learn More Here]
- Deposition of an Allstate Adjuster (questions and answers from an Allstate insurance adjuster in a car accident case we tried in Somerset County, Maryland) [Learn More Here]
Lawsuits Against Allstate
- Miller & Zois $8 Million Verdict against Allstate (verdict in Prince George's County, Maryland)
- Allstate's $10 Million Regulatory Settlement (over the misuse of Colossus)
- Insurance Companies Using Colossus (who is licensed to use Colossus)
- Handling Your Property Damage Claim (tips for car accident property damage claims)
- Handling Personal Injury Claims Without a Lawyer (tips for injury victims)
- Allstate Produces McKinsey Documents (Allstate finally relents and produces the documents about Allstate's adjuster claims practices that it refused to produce)
- Allstate Wages War with Florida and Missouri (local state efforts to temper Allstate's claims practices)
- Allstate Bad Faith Trial in Kentucky (testimony for Plaintiffs' of former claims supervisor at Allstate).
- Bad Faith Trial in Washington (Allstate settles PIP claims lawsuit in Washington)
- Need a lawyer for a serious injury case? Are you a lawyer that needs some help? Call 800-553-8082 or get a free evaluation of your case on-line here.