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Mr. Barlow is the Author of "The Ultimate Guide to Accident Injury Cases in Hawaii." Available at:
Worked for the
United States Air Force
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What to Expect when Settling Injury Claims with Hawaii Auto Insurance Companies
By far, the largest auto insurance company in Hawaii is Geico. 26% of all auto insurance policies in Hawaii are with Geico. (See the Insurance Information Institute for more information). It seems like most auto accidents involve someone with Geico insurance. Many times both of the vehicles involved in the accident have Geico. As the largest insurer in the State, Geico can set the trend for how much injury claims are valued at. In our experience in settling claims with Geico for almost fifteen years, Geico has been the most consistent company. They have consistently offered lower end settlement offers for our clients' injuries. For example, if an injury is worth $20,000, Geico will usually try to settle the case for about half that amount, around $8,000-$10,000. Some of the better insurance companies in Hawaii will offer closer to $20,000 and some of the worst companies will offer closer to $5,000. So, basically, Geico is on the lower end, but at least they aren't the worst.
Geico seems to run "the tightest ship". In other words, most of their adjustors offer basically the same amounts. Rarely we'll come across a Geico adjustor who offers something a lot higher or a lot lower than what the other Geico adjustors would offer. Geico clearly has a very strong system set up in which adjustor's valuations are reviewed and approved by various supervisors and managers.
Some insurance adjustors will eventually cave in if you negotiate with them long enough, but not Geico. Geico adjustors rarely cave in an give you what you ask. They are very stubborn and are clearly not allowed to just offer what they want to get the case settled.
It does seem that Geico may have some sort of bonus structure as it seems that Geico adjustors tend to be more motivated to settle cases at the end of the year.
We do almost always get cases with Geico settled. They seem to know that magic number that can get cases settled. For this reason, we will usually accept cases involving Geico as long as the potential client appears to sound reasonable with what amount they expect for a settlement.
State Farm is the second largest car insurance company in Hawaii. They have 19% of the market share. As such, it seems like quite often State Farm is one of the insurance companies that we have to deal with to get cases settled. Unlike Geico, most of State Farm's insurance adjustors are on the mainland. They seem to be spread out between Arizona, Washington, and Georgia.
Sadly, State Farm usually offers even less than Geico for injury claims. Where Geico would offer $8,000-$10,000 in a $20,000 case, State Farm will usually offer $6,000-$8,000. Geico has been consistent over the past decade, but State Farm has gotten a little worse. We used to get better settlements with State Farm. Now, it seems that they are offering a little less each time. We really hope this trend does not continue. We are already being a little more cautious when accepting cases involving State Farm. If they get much worse than we will have to almost always turn down cases against them.
USAA is the third largest auto insurer in Hawaii at 12%. USAA is probably the most tragic of them all. They used to be one of the best companies out there. We used to almost always get good settlements with them. Unfortunately, over the past couple of years, they have gotten worse and worse. The only reason why we're still taking cases against them is because they are currently inconsistent with the amounts they offer. Some adjustors are still offering fair amounts even though others are offering very unreasonable amounts. Referring to our prior example, for a $20,000 case, sometimes we get $15,000-$18,000 offers. Then, with other adjustors, we're getting $4,000-$6,000 offers. So, for now, it really depends which adjustor you end up with. We're sure that they will eventually get this fixed and will be more consistent. We're just hoping when they figure out how to be consistent, they'll also decide to be reasonable.
Sorry, but we also have very bad news about Allstate. Don't worry, some good news is coming up below. Allstate is the fourth largest insurance company in Hawaii with 9% of the market. Allstate is also one of the bad companies that offers low amounts for injuries. Their adjustors are on the mainland. The problem with dealing with adjustors on the mainland is that they don't understand how high the cost of living is in Hawaii. Because of the high cost of living, Hawaii claims should be valued higher. Allstate has an in house counsel lawyer assigned to Hawaii. As such, they aren't worried about going to Court because they already have a lawyer on the payroll. In general, Allstate offers $4,000-$6,000 for a $20,000 case.
Finally, the news starts to get a little better. Progressive is the 5th largest insurance company in Hawaii with 7% of the auto insurance policies. Thankfully, Progressive is more reasonable than the others. In a $20,000 case, Progressive usually offers $10,000-$16,000. Yes, this is a large range. They aren't really consistent. It depends a little on which adjustor you end up with. We don't usually have any issues taking cases involving Progressive as we can usually get reasonable settlement offers with them.
Farmers is number six in Hawaii with almost 7% of the market. They're in the same boat as Allstate and State Farm. In other words, Farmers usually offers unreasonable amounts. For a $20,000 case, you're looking at somewhere around $4,000 to $7,000.
Back in the good old days (5-10 years ago) Farmers was one of the only bad insurance companies that we would try to stay away from. Well, Farmers is still bad, but tragically, a couple of other insurance companies have joined them in the bad company club.
First Insurance has 5% of the market share in Hawaii making it the seventh largest company. We usually get very good settlement offers from First Insurance. They're one of the smaller companies in the State, they aren't consistent. However, it seems that their adjustors have a lot of latitude to get cases settled. Some of our better settlements have been with First Insurance. It's just too bad they're one of the smaller companies so we don't get to deal with them very often.
Liberty Mutual is the eighth largest auto insurance company in Hawaii with 5% of motor vehicle insurance policy holders in the State. Liberty Mutual is like Progressive in that there is a wider range of settlement possibilities. Sometimes the settlements with them are reasonable and other times they're pretty good. It depends a lot on which adjustor gets assigned to your case. We'll usually take cases against Liberty Mutual because we can usually get decent settlements with them.
Last, but not least, is Island Insurance with 3% of the market share. They are very similar to First Insurance. We usually get very fair settlements from them. We can only hope that they can get more customers so that we can settle cases with them more often.