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AIG Treats Injured Civilian Workers like its Car and Truck Accident Victims

April 30, 2009 by Steven M. Gursten

AIG has been treating accident victims terribly for a long time. As an insurance lawyer who deals with every no-fault insurance company in Michigan, I have seen the way AIG treats their own insureds and auto accident victims, especially since AIG is an excess insurer for many large trucking companies. AIG has been almost notoriously difficult to deal with, exposing its own insureds and primary insurance companies by routinely offering pennies on the dollar until the verge of trial for many catastrophic truck accidents that have resulted in serious personal injuries or wrongful deaths throughout Michigan.

Well, AIG is in the headlines again. This company has had its share of headlines recently, from outlandish “retention bonuses” with bailout money, to luxurious “spa vacations” for its executives. Yet to me, as an attorney, the way AIG’s insurance division treats its own policyholders is outrageous, and the most damning of all. Here’s the latest tactic AIG is using to rob seriously injured people of their benefits:

Civilian workers who suffered devastating injuries while supporting the U.S. war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan are now fighting for everything from basic medical care to artificial limbs, according to the Los Angeles Times. The insurance companies responsible for their treatment under taxpayer-funded policies — primarily AIG — have routinely and intentionally denied and delayed the most serious medical claims.

These civilian contractors have played a crucial role overseas, delivering fuel to frontline troops, guarding U.S. diplomats and translating for soldiers during dangerous raids. More than 1,400 civilian workers have died and 31,000 have been injured. The newspaper reviewed claims records and found that insurance companies initially rejected 44 percent of serious injury claims, and more than half of all claims related to psychological stress. Now civilians who were injured, maimed or traumatized must wage lengthy court battles for even the most basic medical care and benefits. All the while, AIG and other insurers are recording hundreds of millions of dollars in profits in the war business.

Unfortunately, our no-fault insurance lawyers are all too familiar with the insurance industry practice of denying and delaying payments, and then defending legitimate auto accident cases after forcing lawsuits to be filed. In fact, in a July blog about Michigan’s 10 worst insurance companies, I discussed AIG as one of the nastiest perpetrators. AIG, the insurer for many of the more serious truck accident cases in Michigan (as they write many excess and umbrella layers of insurance coverage) is well-known among Michigan truck accident lawyers for its notorious bad faith approach to settlement negotiations until the eve of trial, and for refusing to make good faith offers to resolve serious truck accident cases early on.

In Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s 2009 State of the State Address, she said Michigan residents are paying some the highest rates in America for auto insurance they are compelled by law to buy. Meanwhile, big players like AIG are among the most profitable insurance companies in the entire nation. Note that Michigan is one of the few states where insurance company profits are not being regulated to prevent “excessive” profitability.

As a member of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Traumatic Brain Injury Group and past president of the organization’s Interstate Truck Litigation Group, I’d like to mention that the AAJ is also following the controversy behind insurance companies profiting off the policies of injured American contractors who have been alongside our service members in war. As Congress investigates, the AAJ and our auto accident lawyers are seeking justice for those brave Americans who have suffered at the hands of this insurance company’s greed.

Steve Gursten is recognized as one of the nation’s top experts in serious car and truck accident injury cases and automobile insurance no-fault litigation. Steve has received the largest jury verdict for an automobile accident case in Michigan in four of the past seven years, including 2008.

– Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by Barrybar

Related information:

Gov. Asks Michigan Insurance Companies to Cap Rates, Greed Takes Precedence

Why is Michigan Automobile Insurance So Expensive?

Lawyers Advice to Truck Accident Victims: Beware of Strangers Bearing Gifts

Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm exclusively handling car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights. For more information, please read our law firm quick facts, or call (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with an insurance lawyer.

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