Insurance Industry’s Top 10 Secrets

1 If an injury or wrongful death case goes to trial, you will see a "David vs. Goliath" struggle between a person who has been hurt (or the family of someone who was killed) ... the "plaintiff" ... and the insurance industry. The insurer is the real party in interest, not the person ... the "defendant" ... at the defense table. If the case is being tried, THE DEFENDANT HAS INSURANCE. Insurance companies are typically worth hundreds of millions or billions of dollars and deny, delay, and vigorously defend at trial, claims made against the policy holder as part of an aggressive business strategy to reap more profits. See:

  • Jay M. Feinman, Distinguished Professor of Law, Rutgers University Law School, Delay Deny Defend: Why Insurance Companies Don't Pay Claims and What You Can Do About It (1st ed., Penguin Group USA, 2010)
  • David J. Berardinelli, From Good Hands to Boxing Gloves: The Dark Side of Insurance (2nd ed., Trial Guides, LLC 2008) (Link to CNN article)

2Nobody will tell you the Defendant has insurance, or use the word insurance, because of existing Alaska laws. See, Poulin v. Zartman, 548 P.2d 1299, 1300 (Alaska 1976); Alaska R. Evid. 411.

3 The defense lawyer wasn't hired or paid for by the Defendant. He was HIRED BY THE INSURANCE COMPANY who is paying his bills.

4The "independent medical examiner" isn't independent (see, Luke 16:13; Matthew 6:24), and wasn't hired or paid for by the Defendant. The "examination" isn't to help the injured person, but to help the insurance company defend the case, and help the "independent examiner" get wealthy in the process. He or she was HIRED BY THE INSURANCE COMPANY who is paying the examiner's bills.

5From what the Plaintiff receives from the jury, he must pay back his health insurance company (if he has health insurance) for any benefits he received. This is called "subrogation." The same is true if the Plaintiff paid his medical bills with Medicaid or Medicare. Both entities must be paid back.

6 From what the Plaintiff receives from the jury, he must pay back his own auto insurance company for any benefits it paid on his behalf, such as medical bills or vehicle repair costs. Even worse, in some circumstances, the Plaintiff's auto carrier which paid his medical bills now owns the medical bill claim. The Plaintiff's insurer makes a sweetheart deal with the Defendant so it is protected, while the Plaintiff is left to struggle against the Defendant's insurance company.

7From what the Plaintiff receives from the jury, he must pay back his workers' compensation insurance company if he was injured while on-the-job, even if this means that the Plaintiff gets nothing and his workers' compensation insurance gets all of the proceeds of the litigation. See:

  • AS 23.30.015(g) and McCarter v. Alaska Nat. Ins. Co., 883 P.2d 986 (Alaska 1994).

8From what the Plaintiff receives from the jury, he must pay back his disability insurance company (if he has one) for any benefits it paid. If the Plaintiff is receiving Social Security Disability benefits, he may have to repay some or all of them, depending on a variety of circumstances.

9The Plaintiff is compensated by what is left over, if anything.

10Alaska is the only "loser pays" jurisdiction in America. If the person bringing a lawsuit loses against the insurance industry, or if the claimant doesn't beat a pretrial "offer of judgment" that the jury is never told about, the claimant will be saddled with a judgment against him/her for 30-75% of the actual attorney's fees charged by the insurance company-paid attorney defending the case. These awards are nearly always tens of thousands of dollars and often are greater than $100,000.00. See:

  • Alaska R. Civ. P. 68, 79, and 82; Hillman v. Nationwide Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 855 P.2d 1321, 1327 (Alaska 1983); AS 09.60.010.

Contact An Injury Litigation Attorney

For more information about the insurance company's top ten secrets, or seeking a personal injury or workers' compensation settlement, contact attorney Michael J. Schneider in Anchorage, Alaska.