Disclaimer: This article is based on the Podcast from the “The Insurance Podcast” . You can listen to the full podcast here.
Some sentences are transformed and altered to fit the reading format.
[Q: Pete Tessier]: How have the two external entities - the personal injury lawyers (the legal community) and the insurance adjusters communities taken to this? How do they see the PainWorth product and model? And do they support it? What's their impression of it?
Aaron Budnick: There are two groups there that need to be three groups. There has been some pushback from personal injury lawyers in some cases, but I think, for the most part, it's unwarranted.
I would back it up to talk about middlemen in general, and maybe be a saving grace to you on this. Middlemen make sense when they're adding value, helping people negotiate processes that they don't have experience with, and they bring something to the table, and there is room for personal injury lawyers and other types of middlemen in this area, regardless of whether an app like PainWorth exists or others.
There are claims that are:
They need legal expertise.
There are also some claims that are very simple and straightforward that adjusters see often but they don't necessarily need that.
In the case of personal injury lawyers, specifically, that ends up with them doing a lot of work they may not want to do that they're maybe not well positioned to do. And that doesn't necessarily add a lot of value, just puts more work on their plate.
For PainWorth, we have the opportunity to help with the claims that are best positioned and don't necessarily need legal representation to get settled.
The real issue in their case is that there's a lack of trust between the insurance company and the claimant. Mostly, it's an information asymmetry problem. They deal with claims like this every day, and the insured may be dealing with it for the first time and possibly the only time in their entire life.
They don't know what they don't know, they don't understand the process. It can be very opaque if you're not used to it. And there's no way for them to make an assessment of whether an offer that comes to them is reasonable or not, because they just don't have any expert experience or information on the matter.
PainWorth can solve problems very quickly for people by giving them access to data in a way that they can comprehend, that only takes a few minutes of their time.
So those sorts of cases can be solved without there needing to be a middleman, because middlemen don't necessarily add any value in that scenario. And many of them might agree with that as well, because it just takes up their time.
Even speaking to the access to justice problem that Mike was talking about earlier, a lot of these claims end up being say, five or $10,000. They're just not economically viable for a personal injury lawyer to get involved in. So they may not even want to get involved with them anyway.
A lot of those claims, we're not taking anyone's lunch, the personal injury lawyers wouldn't get involved anyway. We're helping people that would otherwise not have access to justice.
I just want to add to that real quick. So one of the things that we've noticed over the last 12 months is that the professionals who we have engaged with and who have taken the time to actually get to know the product have all become resounding supporters. Evidence of that is as simple as looking at our team page on our website. Most of them have either an insurance or a legal background.
If you just Google search us, you can see some of the community support, which comes from the legal community and from the insurance community resoundingly.
It's really because they end up clogged up with really low value work, which is what Aaron touched on. It's a lot of low value work that clogs them up. It's demoralizing and burdensome. And that, in truth, ends up with them providing very poor customer service.
If you Google search, right now, the number one complaints from people who have legal representation is that they have poor customer service, they're just like, “I can't get ahold of my lawyer, I don't know what's going on with my case.” And the same statements are exactly true. On the other side of the coin as well, when you're talking about insurance adjusters: “I can't get ahold of my insurance adjuster, I don't understand what's going on with my case.” And it's not because these are bad people. It's not because they don't want to do their work to the best of their ability. It's just because they're clogged up with all this low value work.
Platforms, like PainWorth, really have the ability to increase their bandwidth and just chug low value work along.
We actually hear similar complaints from some of the insurance adjusters that we talk to. They can't get responses from the claimants that they're trying to work with. The claimant won't provide the information or documentation that they need to, to be able to fairly evaluate the claim. It's a problem across the board. Some of that is trust.
Certainly, when you're not sure that you can trust sharing information, whichever direction you choose tends to be slow. But when there's just a lot on your plate, you're busy, there are lots of different priorities in life that slows everything down. It's exactly what Mike said, people are not necessarily malicious. We're just so busy. So this can take a lot.
Mira Soullen - February 24th, 2021