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The Truth about Colossus: Are You Just A Magnetic Image?

What is Colossus?

Colossus is software licensed to about twenty-five insurance companies to aid in predicting the settlement value of injury claims. The insurance industry maintains it is a useful tool because it considers a great many factors, and the settlement values are just a range for use in any way the insurer wishes. The claimants' attorneys, on the other hand, maintain that the software is only so good as the data input, and we never know what the adjuster has input; that it does not consider interference with normal life activities, or other valid indications of pain and suffering normally proved by lay testimony instead of medical testimony (as required by Colossus); and that it is NOT merely a beginning point, but is instead the FINAL WORD ON VALUE that the insurance adjuster has to adhere to, or else risk unfavorable management reviews.

How would you like to know that only a part of all you are suffering will be compensated? Unless data are input, how can a computer quantify your emotional distress, or the loss of enjoyment of life because you no longer can take long walks with your spouse, or the pain and despair you suffer each day because your work hurts you and interferes with your healing? Unless all of your circumstances are included, is it fair to quantify all you have suffered and reduce to a dollar value based upon some factors that may or may not reflect your condition?

That is the essence of the Colossus software. It is an attempt by some insurance companies to value injury claims with no consideration at all given to whether or not a jury might award you more than the "average" claimant. They plug in such things as damage to the vehicles and expected length of treatment and allowable cost of treatment and many other variables and then come up with a number for the value of the personal injury claim. No consideration whatsoever is given to the extent of your actual pain and suffering.

Nor is any consideration whatsoever given to the fact that you might have a job where your injuries cause continued pain, or which slows your healing (consider, for example a waitress, or a person who has to stand all shift). They do not know, nor do they care, that you cannot hold your baby because of the pain in your neck and back. There is no room in the formula for such information.

But the problem is that in our system, it is the jury that is supposed to be the basis for determining the value of a claim, and juries do tend to listen to and consider many of the factors that Colossus ignores. Juries do make a distinction based upon whether or not they think the plaintiff is believable, or has attributes we value in our society, such as the virtues of honesty, perseverance, humility, or patience, for example.

Colossus has no way to evaluate those positive traits, so if you are possessed of anything positive that is likely to bring you a larger jury verdict, it will not be included in the Colossus valuation. You will have become a magnetic image, no different in regard to your positive characteristics than the magnetic image of any other of thousands of claimants with injuries similar to yours.

The real problem with Colossus is that the adjuster for your insurance claim is just about stuck with the results that come out of the computer. Of course the insurance company will deny this, and will tell the media and the state insurance commissioner that Colossus is nothing more than an evaluation tool. It just gives a starting point, they say, from which the adjuster can move up if the facts of the case merit it. That is not at all true.

The Colossus result is a position that is increasingly locked in, and the adjuster who wishes to vary from it because of the facts of an unusual case, had better be ready to justify it. Furthermore, how many times do you think any adjuster trying to make the cut at an insurance company is going to go to her boss and ask for permission to exceed the Colossus determination of value? Considering that her evaluation and merit pay will be based upon how "efficiently" (read that to mean cheaply, or "hard-line") she settles her cases, do you think she will ever go to her boss to ask for more money than allowed by Colossus? Not very likely.

Colossus is a well-kept secret by the insurance companies that use it, and they will likely not tell you if they have licensed the software. It is the market leader bodily injury claims-handling software used by an increasing number of insurance companies in the world. According to Computer Sciences Corporation, the company which produces Colossus, it is used by more than 50 per cent of the nation's claim adjusters and by more than 300 insurance companies. Out of the top 20 US Property and Casualty Insurers, 13 are using Colossus see the link for reference ColossusGo to WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?.
Most claims insurance adjusters use computer software to appraise any insurance claim that you make. CSC claims that Colossus can evaluate more than 600 type of injuries based on 10,000 different rules. This way, adjusters will obtain a figure from Colossus software and then offer it to you to settle your injury claim. Insurance companies claim that their adjusters are not required to settle within the suggested Colossus calculations, but that is truly nonsense, and should be investigated by the nation's insurance commissioners.