Are Insurance Companies Looking Out For Their Own Interests?

The Illinois brain injury lawyers at our firm have helped residents hurt in many different kinds of accidents. Premise liability law is implicated when the accident occurred after a slip and fall on someone else’s property. Basic tort and negligence law is at the heart of auto accident cases where residents suffer a traumatic brain injury after a collision. Medical malpractice is involved when doctors, nurses, or other medical teams make mistakes that lead to the brain damage. However, in all of these cases there is one commonality in the legal case; the presence of insurance companies.

The insurance world is at the heart of the civil justice system, because most actual payment following these injuries are made by these companies. This shouldn’t be too big a surprise, because that is the whole point of insurance, to provide payment to those who suffer serious harm unexpectedly. That is exactly why it is the insurance companies who are at the forefront of so-called “tort reform” efforts. These companies want to pay out at as little as possible. Not satisfied simply defending lawsuits where they feel appropriate and making payments based on the decision of the jury, these companies want to stack the deck and simply make it impossible for the jury to reach certain decisions at all.

Unfortunately, however, our Chicago brain injury attorneys know that this insurance involvement can lead to a wide range of problems, often inhibiting a basic sense of fairness-as tort reform efforts suggest.

An underlying problem, according to a new story on the insurance industry in The Atlantic, is these companies have completely lost touch with the whole purpose of the effort. In the past, the whole point of insurance was a community-wide effort, coming together to leverage the resources of everyone in order to provide security for everyone. In the past, it involved mutual benefit for all involved. Everyone made small payments. Payouts were made when any participant faced harm per the terms of the agreement, and when profits were made they were equally distributed to those same individuals.

That model is not quite still around.

That is because, as our Illinois brain injury attorneys know well, the insurance industry has become a major corporate powerhouse. Instead of a community-effort to help all those involved, the focus is on maximizing profits. This has change has also shifting considerable power to the few executives in charge of these companies. Not surprisingly they make rules that handsomely reward themselves. The current CEO of Liberty Mutual, for example, made more than $200 million to himself in compensation over the past four years alone.

The article argues that as the idea of a mutual pooling of resources changed into a profit-making corporate entity, so too changed the company’s former commitment to improving the overall public welfare. In the past, the insurance was owned by those who had an actual stake in the assets. In that way, all had personal incentive to limit payouts by improving on a wide-range of safety changes that they themselves also benefitted from. However that has changed. The article sums up the current situation: “Insurance returned to the business of selling policies to people who had no stake in the assets on which they wagered. Even worse, although the gains accrued to private individuals, the public remained on the hook for any failures.”

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