Monday, November 15, 2010

Insurance Companies That Want Your Social Security Number After An Accident--An Update

Recently I wrote about insurance company attempts to obtain injury victims' Social Security numbers after an accident and why they want them.

The reason? To submit accident victims' Social Security numbers to a bunch of databases, including credit histories/ratings among other things (you might ask yourself: why would insurance companies want your credit scores as part or their investigation of your auto accident injury claim?)

A recent Ohio car collision case I handled shows how one sided and hypocritical insurance companies are on this issue. I recently represented a driver injured in an intersection collision. The at fault driver had low liability limits. Fortunately, my client carried ample underinsured motorists coverage, which permit injured persons to make a claim against their own insurance company if their injuries/claim exceed the at fault driver's liability limits.

A lawsuit was filed against the at fault driver, and also my client's insurance company, for underinsured motorists' benefits. When a lawsuit is filed, all parties have the right to send written questions, known as interrogatories, to each other.

So here's what happened. The at fault driver's insurance company sent my client interrogatories, one of which asked for her Social Security Number (which I objected to and refused to answer, because of privacy concerns and a lack of relevance to the crash or my client's injuries).

Now here's where it got fun: my client's insurance company sent similar interrogatories to the at fault driver's insurance company, and asked for her Social Security Number as well. What did the insurance company for the at fault driver do? They refused to divulge her Social Security number, claiming that it was irrelevant!!

See how it works in the insurance world? Demand the injured victim's Social Security number, but refuse to divulge the at fault driver's/their insured's Social Security number.

If they wanted to be fair and above board, one would think that insurance companies would divulge the same information on their negligent driver that they are seeking from the auto accident injury victim. That simple logic assumes, however, that the insurance claims process is a two way street and an even exchange of information. It is not, and insurance companies' hypocrisy on this issue proves the point.

The lesson? "Fair and above board insurance company" ='s "jumbo shrimp," "hot water heater" and other oxymorons.

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