Daze of My Life: "Total" Confusion
Daze of My Life
Recently, my wife, Dina, was in a car accident on Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC, through no fault of her own, admitted to on the scene by the other driver. Fortunately, no one was hurt. However, Dina's car appears to have been "totaled." At present, two weeks after the accident, we're still waiting for both sides to adjust/agree on the car's assessment and therein lies the confusion.
Both companies, brand name insurers of unquestioned and unparalleled integrity, have reacted quickly to their respective client's call-ins. So quickly in fact, that neither company has had the real-time information in as timely a manner as we have since the claims process has been tended to with the utmost care and concern. What I mean is, Dina (as the driver) and yours truly (as the owner) are both receiving calls from both insurers seeking information and status concerning what action has been taken (car seen/adjusted, car towed, where towed; and hearing who else had to determine what in order for all interested parties - insurers and insureds - to agree) or still needs to be taken, all in an extremely efficient and responsive pursuit of the truth, justice and settlement of the pending claim and ultimate disbursement of funds.
The problem is that both insurers' proactiveness has caused Dina and I to act cautiously, so cautiously in fact that, two weeks after the accident, no decision has been made; no repairs have been authorized, and of course, no settlement has been offered. Let me amend that. A settlement offer was made to me by my insurance company. However, when I told the other driver's insurance company's claims person of my company's offer, she balked at its legitimacy, so to speak, because she said that her company's adjuster hadn't even seen the car yet. As a result, rather than upset the other driver's insurance company, who I had hoped would settle with my insurance company - and its subrogation department, and include my $1000 collision deductible in the "total" check, I called my insurance company and withdrew my consent to their settlement offer, paperwork concerning which I had not yet "over-nighted" due to the crisscrossing of customer service/claims phone calls we were still both continuing to receive.
When I advised my car insurance company's claims representative of this decision/further delay, she was a bit perterbed ( I realize it was costing them money; storage fees, no sale at auction, etc.) and asked what insurer I wanted to " go through" to settle this claim. I replied that I didn't preferrably want to "go through" anybody (my insurance company verses the other driver's), I simply wanted to involve all the parties that, based on the number and variety of insurance company phone calls that Dina and I were receiving, sounded like I was supposed to, to facilitate the claim. At the very least, I thought, both sides needed to have an equal opportunity to gather all the information deemed appropriate/necessary to assess the damage/make a settlement offer (what do I know?). Given her attitude, apparently, I wasn't supposed/expected to do that.
I guess I was supposed to do what my insurance company advised me to do. Whatever confusion I was experiencing, whatever cross-communicating we were still receiving, would all be sorted out at settlement, if and when a final offer was made, and I should let the professionals work it all out on my behalf.
And though it all still sounded reasonable, I couldn't help wondering exactly who wants to know what and why, and how all of it effects Dina and me, and what's all the rush anyway?
Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.