USA Underwriters is now writing a lot of car insurance policies in Michigan. However, it has been our experience that the company is extremely aggressive in delaying payments, denying claims, and outright rescinding policies by alleging fraud on the part of its customers.
Our law office handles auto accidents all over Michigan. USA Underwriters has gotten very heavy into the car insurance market in metro Detroit, especially in the city. Unfortunately, we have had numerous clients forced to file a lawsuit against them to get the first-party no-fault benefits they paid for. This article is about the insurance company and their tactics.
A Background on USA Underwriters
USA Underwriters is a Michigan based insurance company that writes a lot of policies in the city of Detroit and other urban cities like Flint and Grand Rapids. In fact, the insurance company openly targets minority populations who bear the brunt of Michigan’s very expensive car insurance market.
According to its sparse website, USA Underwriters was originally Southern Michigan Mutual Insurance Company until 2013. As someone who has been practicing law for many years, I don’t think I ever came across a Southern Michigan Mutual insurance policy. One can surmise the investors who started USA Underwriters purchased this very small insurance carrier for regulatory purposes, then reorganized the company to target the expensive auto insurance market in Detroit.
Although its mailing address is in Rancho Cucamonga, California, the company’s real headquarters is in Birmingham, Michigan. Oddly enough, its listed address is literally one door down from the headquarters for LA Insurance, the infamous high-cost auto insurance agency.
And there is a reason for this location. Many of the LA Insurance branches in Detroit and Flint sell USA Underwriters policies. LA Insurance is the agency while USA Underwriters is the underwriting insurance carrier. Although LA Insurance also sells car insurance policies for Progressive and a few other carriers, many of the policies it sells through USA Underwriters.
Targeting Detroit Drivers
USA Underwriters sells most of its policies in Detroit and other urban cities. The company’s sales pitch is selling same-day policies to “high risk” drivers who may not ordinarily be able to get car insurance. This traditionally makes USA Underwriters an expensive insurance carrier.
They also target drivers with “less-than-perfect” driving records who need insurance “to stay on the road and within the law.” In other words, they sell same-day policies to individuals with tickets or prior accidents. This allows drivers to get insurance so they can purchase a vehicle and get it on the road. However, what many drivers do not understand is that many of these policies lapse in only a few weeks.
In the past, our office saw a number of 13-day policies sold by LA Insurance, where the policy lapsed 13 days after it was taken out. Currently, we are seeing policies that say it is for 6 months, but the buyer isn’t aware that the hundreds of dollars they spent is only for the first month. The policy then lapses and the driver is stuck holding.
What Happens if You Don’t Have Car Insurance in Michigan?
The penalties for not carrying auto insurance on your own car are severe. A person operating their own uninsured car at the time of the crash are not entitled to either first-party benefits or compensation for pain and suffering. In other words, you can’t even go after the person who caused the crash and your injuries.
Many drivers who have USA Underwriters do not realize they are driving cars with lapsed insurance policies. This can have horrible consequences.
How Does USA Underwriters Deny Insurance Claims?
USA Underwriters has become very aggressive in Michigan denying claims after a Detroit car accident. The entire point of car insurance is to protect yourself financially if a crash happens. Insurance can help pay for the car damage, a new car, as well as compensation for pain and suffering. But insurance is worthless if the insurance company denies payment when you need it most.
Unfortunately, USA Underwriters uses Michigan’s strict insurance laws against its own policyholders. In this author’s opinion, they do so in a very predatory way.
Sometimes when a claim is made, they will scrutinize the original insurance application completed when the policyholder bought the insurance. If they find something they think is a discrepancy in the insurance application, they will use this excuse to “investigate” the claim.
Very often, USA Underwriters refuses to pay benefits during this investigation period. The company will often use the excuse to deny coverage all together.
For example, if the insurance policy fails to list every single person living at the residence at the time of the crash, but then additional people are living in the same household when the crash occurred, USA Underwriters may try to argue this is a material representation. Insurance companies can rescind or cancel policies if there is a material misrepresentation.
Reasons USA Underwriters Gives for Claiming Fraud After a Detroit Car Accident
USA Underwriters will use different reasons to claim fraud or a material misrepresentation after a car accident occurs. Some of their more popular reasons include:
- Failing to list all individuals living in the household when the policy was taken out
- Failing to list the correct address of where the car is located or garaged
- Failing to disclose all vehicles
- Failing to disclose all drivers
It is important to give full and accurate information when purchasing car insurance. This is especially true in Michigan and when dealing with USA Underwriters. They will use whatever they can to delay and then deny an otherwise valid claim.
If an insurance company alleges material misrepresentation or fraud, and denies paying, it is important to contact a Detroit car accident lawyer as quickly as possible. The auto insurance company almost always will not pay anything going forward. A person will need legal advice and an aggressive law firm to fight back.
What is Prior is Claims Management?
Prioris Claims Management is a third-party company that handles car insurance claims for USA Underwriters. This includes not only vehicle damage cases, but Michigan first-party cases as well as negligence claims. When a crash occurs, and a claim is made, often Prioris is the company that will handle the claims process.
It has been our experience that Prioris is short staffed and slow in returning telephone calls and emails. However, they are quick in finding ways to delay the payment of things like wage loss benefits and medical bills.
The company or USA Underwriters itself will ask for endless documentation and other “proof” to show why you are entitled to certain benefits. This is all geared towards delaying or then outright denying the car insurance claim.
Contact a Detroit Car Accident Law Firm Who Fights Back
The lawyers at Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. have been fighting against USA Underwriters and its tactics for a decade now. We know the tricks of the trade. We appreciate how important it is to have financial security. Call us today at 1-800-LEE-FREE for a free case consultation.
We are here to answer your questions. And we never charge anything until we win your case.