Nationwide has the fifth largest market share of Virginia auto insurers, collecting more than $7 billion in premiums in 2009. Though Farmer’s rates ahead of Nationwide when you’re taking the state as a whole, we find that we are more often dealing with Nationwide than Farmers insurance company in northern Virginia.
Negotiating Cases with Nationwide
Determining settlement value with Nationwide can be more difficult than it is with other large insurers like GEICO or Allstate. On the whole, they are more reasonable than most, but Nationwide’s offers have surprised us as being both much higher and much lower than we expected. This may be because Nationwide places less reliance on a computer system to evaluate cases and gives more authority to their individual adjusters. However, once you have the initial offer from a Nationwide adjuster, you can make a reasonable estimate as to what the “final offer” might be – the two are not often very far from each other. This allows us to make an early decision with our clients about whether we continue to negotiate with the adjuster or simply file a lawsuit.
Nationwide Auto Insurance and Lawsuits
Lawsuits against Nationwide drivers are defended by staff counsel in northern Virginia. This means that the lawyers defending the lawsuit are salaried employees of Nationwide, and not outside counsel hired at an hourly rate to defend the case. This makes it less likely that Nationwide adjusters will quickly increase the value on any given case just because it will cost them a significant amount to defend.
Nationwide adjusters do appear to listen carefully to their attorneys when determining settlement value, however. And Nationwide’s attorneys are good about evaluating a case early in the litigation and making an offer that will be very close to the pre-trial final offer. This allows us to let our clients know early on (and often before we spend much money on expert witnesses and the other costs of litigation) whether we will be going all the way to trial or whether they should accept the settlement.
David L. Marks is a Fairfax car accident attorney and offers free consultations.