Access General Insurance Auto Accident Claims
Access General is an insurance company that has been coming up more and more in California the last few years. And the reason why is that they’re an insurance company who will sell policies to people who don’t even have driver’s licenses, which I don’t know how they get away with doing.
But as we know, in California, you’re required to have liability insurance in order to register your car. And so many of these people who don’t have much money will purchase policies from Access General. Access General is an out of state insurance company.
The problem with this is, that when these people, who often don’t have driver’s licenses and often you can’t afford upscale policies that are more expensive– and that’s a benefit too to people, to have affordable insurance coverage. But the problem is since Access General is out of state and they don’t really have any local representatives, what happens is, they can’t often confirm the facts of an accident or that an accident has even occurred when you’re making a claim against them.
So what happens, for example. A client will come in my office. Will be injured in an accident with an Access General insured. We will contact Access General and give them the policy number, the information that was exchanged at the scene. And then the client will go to the doctor to treat his injuries or her injuries.
And after a period of time you will try to get a position from Access General as to whether they accept the claim, whether they accept fault or not. And very often, almost always– I think there’s only been one case in the past where they will promptly tell you, yes, we’ve contacted our insured. And we’ve confirmed the accident happened. And, yes, it’s our fault.
The problem is, since they don’t have local representatives, they do everything by phone, or by sending a letter to their insured. And if their insured has moved, or if they don’t answer the phone calls, or if their phone service has been terminated, then they can’t confirmed that an accident has even occurred with one of their insureds.
And so they will take the position that, we can’t confirm an accident has occurred, so, therefore, we can’t even entertain a settlement with your client. And this is very burdensome and onerous to the client, because the only thing you can do at that point is file a lawsuit against their insured and try to serve them.
If you serve them, then eventually they’ll get back to their insurance company, because they don’t want to be personally responsible. And they’ll get their insurance company a statement saying, yes, I was at fault. And that at that point you can settle the case.
If we’re not able to serve them in the traditional manner through personal service, we have to go through the expensive routine of publishing a service, which takes a lot longer. You have to get a lot of documentation for the court to approve that process. It’s more expensive.
But eventually, you will get service by publication. And at that point, once that’s completed, you send that to the insurance company and Access General will usually, at that point, settle the case, because they don’t want a judgment being taken against their insured. But sometimes they will say, well, their insured did not talk to them, and, therefore, they’re being non-cooperative, and they will say we don’t extend coverage anymore, and then you have a problem.
You may be able to go through an uninsured motorist demand and claim, if your client does have uninsured motorist. If your client doesn’t have uninsured motorist coverage, you may be out of luck, because Access General has declined coverage, and now you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage.
So I think the most important thing, in many of these cases, is to have uninsured motorist coverage– I think in all cases. Because you might have a situation like Access General, where they send out one or two letters, or call a couple times and give up. I don’t think that’s fair to their insured, and, I think, genuinely not fair to your client. But that’s a reality.
So my advice is for everyone to get uninsured motorist coverage, so we don’t have this problem and their injuries will be compensated, either by Access General or by their own insurance company.