The Government Employees Insurance Company (commonly known as GEICO and its ubiquitous television commercials with "Flo" and "Jimmy") is the auto-insurance carrier we see more than any other here at Shaw Law.
This fact is a mixed-bag for Plaintiffs and injured people here in Indiana. On the one hand, GEICO is very diligent about checking with us here at Shaw Law on a monthly basis regarding the status of our claims for injured persons. You can count on a GEICO adjuster calling for a status update on any individual who was injured by a GEICO-insured driver. (Of course, we here at Shaw Law strive to be more proactive than other personal injury law firms throughout Indiana and try to contact the GEICO adjusters to provide updates before they call us).
On the other hand, GEICO is perhaps the worst auto insurance company when it comes to providing a fair value pre-lawsuit to settle an injury claim for an injured person (often called the "claims stage" of any particular case we have). Typically, Shaw Law sees offers to settle made by GEICO adjusters for a few hundred dollars above the amount of the medical bills and expenses incurred by a person injured by a GEICO-insured at-fault driver.
This "lowball" approach by GEICO adjusters must be considered a strategic decision on its part.
It does have the effect of forcing us at Shaw Law to file lawsuits quite rapidly on all claims made by persons injured by GEICO-insured at-fault drivers. Some injured people are frightened or hesitant to file a "lawsuit" for a multitude of reasons, e.g., they don't consider themselves to be "litigious" persons or they are scared that a lawsuit always results in a jury trial. None of these concerns are 100% accurate, however.
Shaw Law believes that 90%-95% of all GEICO-related insurance claims must be filed in a court of law in Indiana county courts in order to achieve a fair and equitable settlement offer.
The history of GEICO is an interesting one. GEICO is an American auto insurance company out of Maryland. Today it is the second largest auto insurer in the United States, after State Farm. It is owned by Berkshire Hathaway and insures more than 22 million motor vehicles and has 14 million policyholders.
GEICO was founded in 1936 by Leo Goodwin and his wife, Lillian Goodwin to provide auto insurance directly to federal government employees and their families because he thought they would be a lower risk than the public at large.
Goodwin learned this while working at USAA, which still exists today and writes insurance mainly for military personnel. Based on Goodwin's experience at USAA, GEICO's original business model was predicated on the assumption that federal employees as a group would constitute a less risky and more financially stable pool of insureds, as opposed to the general public. Despite the presence of the word "government" in its name, GEICO has always been a private corporation.
Of course, it is best known for its cheeky television commercials with the Cockney gecko. GEICO is well known in popular culture for its advertising, having made a large number of commercials intended to entertain viewers,
Despite its funny commercials, I can tell you its insurance adjusters are some of the most difficult to work with in the State of Indiana. They consistently undervalue claims made by injured motorists, including almost a complete lack of acknowledgement for pain and suffering or mental anguish as a result of a personal injury.
There is some belief that GEICO follows the Colossus software that assigns a numerical score to each personal injury claimant in order to achieve a standardized amount to offer based upon factors it considers important (pain and suffering and mental anguish, apparently, are not high on the list of this software evaluations).
We have found that we typically file lawsuits against GEICO, rather than settling before a lawsuit is filed (often called "pre-litigation" in our business) at a higher percentage than with other insurers (except State Farm Insurance Company and Allstate Insurance Company).
We've seen offers to settle in "pre-lit" eventually become 20x (twenty times) or more higher once the lawsuit reaches the mediation stage.
That's why it can be to your advantage to listen to your lawyers and file lawsuits when appropriate.