USAA plays a major role in the car insurance market in Alabama and across the nation. Originally, USAA was founded in 1922 by 25 Army officers who got together and decided to insure one another’s automobiles. Today, USAA continues to insure military personnel, both past and present, as well as their families. The military connection of USAA is played up whenever possible, including the fact that the insurance company sponsors the annual Army-Navy game. While USAA wants the general public to believe it is a non-profit company, in fact, the owners of USAA definitely receive profits. In fact, in 2012, USAA had the second largest profit in its history, with more than $20 billion in annual revenues and the CEO of USAA made $5.28 million in 2015.
Although USAA relies on computer software to arrive at a settlement number—just like most insurance companies—the value of the company’s claims appears to vary more by adjuster than most insurance companies. USAA does appear to be more willing than most of the major insurance companies to significantly increase their offer once a lawsuit is filed. Further, if you don’t settle your USAA case once the lawsuit is filed, it is much less likely to be settled until trial time. In order to arrive at a settlement amount, USAA’s computer program, Colossus, evaluates medical records, hospital expenses, pain and suffering and past or future wage loss of the victim, however, like most insurance companies Colossus typically undervalues at least one of these categories.
A Brief History of USAA
After being established in 1922, USAA printed its first credo in 1924, which was “Service to the Services.” Despite the Great Depression, the number of employees doubled in 1931 from 46 to 99, and doubled its membership from 15,000 to 30,000. In February, 1951, American Business Magazine selected USAA as one of the 100 best offices in the U.S. In 1952, USAA began writing insurance policies in Europe, opening an office in Frankfurt, Germany. Toward the end of the 1950’s, USAA jumped on the computer bandwagon, installing an IBM 650 punch-card processing machine to help automate its operations.
In 1963, USAA Life Company was formed, and by 1972, five out of every six active-duty officers were USAA members. By 1977, USAA had reached $1 billion in assets, and in 1993 USAA was once again listed on Fortune 500’s 100 Best Companies to work for. In 1996, USAA was named Working Mother magazine’s “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers,” and in 1999, the USAA website was launched, allowing its members to conduct their USAA business online. Following 9/11, USAA sent special member services teams to Lower Manhattan, and in 2008, when many financial services companies were recording serious losses, USAA earned $423 in net income, generating positive investment income. By 2011, USAA earned an unprecedented growth of 9 percent in both new members and products, despite the shaky economy.
Alabama USAA Lawsuit
An Alabama USAA lawsuit was decided in 2014, seven years after the accident. Nancy Perry was a passenger in a vehicle which was struck by Marquis Wilson in 2007. Wilson’s insurer, offered Perry the limit of Wilson’s policy, $50,000, in return for a release of any further liability. Perry then sought underinsured motorist benefits from her own USAA Casualty Insurance, as well as from the driver’s insurance policy. who refused to settle. Once Perry filed an action against Wilson and USAA, USAA advanced the $50,000 liability policy limit under Wilson’s policy in order to preserve its subrogation rights, opting out of the litigation, The jury found in Perry’s favor, awarding her $275,000. USAA filed a complaint against Perry on the theory it is entitled to a credit against the jury award for the $40,000 Perry received from the insurance policy of the driver of the car. Perry counterclaimed, seeking attorney fees and litigation expenses from USAA. Eventually, USAA was awarded $40,000, and Perry was awarded a portion of her litigation and legal expenses.
USAA and the Better Business Bureau
USAA has garnered the highest rating possible from the Better Business Bureau—an A+. Although USAA had a higher number of complaints than expected, it resolved the majority of those complaints. USAA is the highest scoring company for auto and insurance customer satisfaction and claims satisfaction in annual JD Power surveys. Although USAA is not an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau, accreditation is not a requirement.
If you are an Alabama USAA member, you can contact USAA at 1-800-531-8722 or 210-531-8722. To file a claim online at USAA, or to report an auto claim online, go to: https://www.usaa.com/inet/ent_logon/Logon.
What to Do Following Your Auto Accident
If you have had an automobile accident, the eventual outcome of that accident can depend on what you do following the accident. Remember the following:
- Stay at the scene of the accident until the police have arrived, and all information has been exchanged.
- Determine whether you or others need medical attention. Many people believe they are “fine” until days or weeks after the accident when the adrenaline rush has worn off, and they realize they did sustain injuries. If there is any doubt, go to your own doctor or the ER.
- If possible, take photographs of the scene of the accident or have a friend or family member do so.
- Never admit fault until you have spoken to a Huntsville personal injury attorney.
- Call your insurance company as soon as possible following the accident.
- If you are asked to give a recorded statement to either your own insurance company or the other party’s insurance company, decline.
- Resist the urge to post anything about your accident to social media.
- Contact an attorney as soon as possible, as your attorney will immediately ensure your rights and your future are properly protected.
Contact Martinson & Beason Following Your Automobile Accident
If you have been injured in an automobile accident, perhaps the most important call you can make is to an attorney at Martinson & Beason. Our Alabama car accident lawyers have years of experience handling claims involving USAA insured vehicles. If your injuries are severe, you need time to heal, without having to deal with the legal aspects of your accident. You may have been off work for a significant length of time, meaning you are having difficulty meeting your monthly financial obligations. It can make all the difference when you know an attorney from Martinson & Beason has your back, and has experience dealing with insurance companies. If you are looking for compassion for your injuries, as well as an aggressive litigator and/or negotiator, call Martinson & Beason today.