21st Century Accident Claims
21st Century is an insurance company that has a long history, at least the last 30 years or so, in California. They’ve gone through several permutations.
When I first started practicing about 35 years ago, they were a very hard-nosed insurance company. They treated almost every injury claim, no matter how severe, as actual fraud– in other words, people were pretending that they were injured. And they had a particular law firm that they sent all their cases to in those days. And they called themselves the “Fraud-busting attorneys.”
That firm’s no longer in practice. Because I think what happened is, eventually 21st Century found– after paying out probably millions of dollars to these outside attorneys– that there wasn’t really that much fraud. When people are involved in accidents, they generally are injured. Fraud is a very, very minor part of the auto claims in California.
Then 21st Century became a very, very friendly insurance company. They settled most of their claims. And they were very fair in their claims-handling practices. And that was about 15 years or so ago that they make that transformation. And they were a pleasure to deal with.
Unfortunately 21st Century was one of those insurance companies that were affected by the AIG debacle, where AIG was an owner of 21st Century. And they had economic problems. Even though 21st Century was fine, AIG had to sell them off as an asset.
That doesn’t mean that we cannot settle the case for good money without going to court. But it does mean that we have to let them know that we’re going to fight. We have to make sure that the client goes reputable doctors, that they get the kind of treatment that they need, that there’s documentation of their injuries.
And when we send a package of settlement demands to 21st Century, or any insurance company, we make sure that it’s a very, very credible and saleable item.
And so we can try to settle our case prior to litigation, and we usually do still with 21st Century, but very often we have to file suit or demand uninsured motorist arbitration, if it’s that kind of claim. And eventually we will get the client the recovery they’re entitled to.