Turley Law DBA JULY 2018

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Nobody Said ThisWould Be Easy THE PROTRACTED BATTLE OF DBA CLAIMS

If you want to know how difficult DBA claims cases can be, here’s the best way I can describe it. The people filing these claims are among the bravest folks you’ll ever meet. Most of them have been in environments that regular people can’t even imagine. They go to sleep to the sound of mortar fire, live in hostile surroundings, and do work that can only be described heroic. Given their determination, you would think an insurance case would be a walk in the park for them. Sadly, that’s not always the case. DBA insurance companies don’t make anything easy. Their desire to deny claims is so intense that I have seen steel-tough, ex-special forces guys who want to throw in the towel. To be honest, I never expected to find myself in a situation where I am convincing somebody 100 times braver than I am to see their claim through. But it’s a conversation I’ve had time and time again. Maybe it’s better to explain the process from the view of the DBA insurance companies. They get into the business with dollar signs in their eyes. The huge premiums are the initial draw. Once the claims start rolling in, though, they realize maybe it’s not the easy money they thought it was. Their only resource to make the numbers work is that old adage: deny, deny, deny. At first, they want to litigate every case. “Why pay anything if you don’t have to?” goes the thinking. After they are stung one too many times in the courtroom, they change their tune. Now, they want to settle for the lowest amount possible. Eventually, they will probably get out of the business altogether, only to be replaced by a new crop of companies. What you’re going to see is that the DBA insurance companies come and try to go. They may stop writing DBA policies, but due to PTSD claims and other claims, they can never really leave the DBA insurance business. It’s sort of like the Eagles’ “Hotel California”: “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!”

It wasn’t so long ago that the major players (read: DBA insurance companies) were CNA, AIG, ACE, Zurich, and Liberty Mutual. All of them have mostly stopped writing new DBA insurance policies. But the claims keep coming in. For example, many folks take years before they figure out they are disabled from PTSD. That, sadly, can just sometimes be the nature of PTSD. Currently the major DBA insurance companies are Allied World (AWAC) / Broadspire, AIG, and Starr Indemnity / Gallager Bassett. Right now — and I’m not going to sugarcoat this — we are in the hardest part of that cycle. Companies like Starr want to litigate every claim that comes in. They’re betting that if they make the process hard enough, claimants will give up. At times like these, it’s more important than ever that you do everything you can to hold these companies accountable. Their behavior makes me sick to my stomach. These guys are putting their bottom line before caring for our heroes. People filing DBA claims have been trained to put the needs of others first. The insurance companies do just the opposite. When they look at a claim, they don’t see the people behind it. Do they dwell on the fact that an American hero might not be able to provide for their family? Not for a second. All they consider are dollars and cents. Filing a claim shouldn’t be a protracted, stressful process, but all too often it is. All you can do is go into it with your eyes open. Nobody who’s being honest with you will tell you it’s going to be easy. Luckily, you have the truth on your side. It might take longer than anyone would like for that truth to emerge, but it will. The DBA insurance companies are banking on you giving you up. Prove them wrong. Hold them accountable. Win with the truth. It’s the only way to show them what’s what.

-Bill Turley

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