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Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund (MAIF)

As regular readers of this blog are aware, I have been a critic of the MAIF because of the speed with which it reviews cases, the offers it makes which almost invariably cause reasonable car accident lawyers to file suit because the client’s best interests demand a lawsuit, and because the it invariably makes its lawyers (and our lawyers) jump through discovery hoop after discovery hoop in large cases before offering its policy limits on the eve of trial when the policy limits should have offered from jump street.

In this Baltimore Business Journal article, MAIF’s executive director since 2004, M. Kent Crabbe, talks about some of the challenges MAIF faces as an “insurance company” operating under a somewhat unique and complex regulatory scheme, including why it may be more difficult for MAIF to recruit and retain quality people. I put “insurance company” in quotes not derisively (well, kind of) but because technically under the Maryland Insurance Code, MAIF is not an insurance company.

I spoke today to one of the more competent MAIF adjusters who told me that the bar is being raised at MAIF with respect to responding in a professional and timely way to personal injury claims. I’ll save my “picking the bar off the floor” joke (well, I guess I didn’t save it) and hope that there are real changes in store at MAIF. I realize that government agencies are always going to struggle to keep up with for profit businesses in terms of efficiencies, but I have seen many other Maryland state agencies – including MVA in recent years, believe it or not – that seem to run far more efficiently.

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  • ART

    I am truly amazed! I’m the victim of an auto accident by an MAIF insurer. It has been over two years, and yet no closure. I actual found this web site in researchng for additional contact information on higher authority, in hope of receiving appropiate actions for my claim. I couldn’t believe the poor offer made by the claims examiner assigned to my case (which happens to be the third examiner assigned). An offer I expressed was totally unacceptable. From the findings in this article, it appears that the only action I have remaining is to seek legal representation.

  • Tati

    To Art. I was also hit a month ago by a MAIF insured driver. I still have not had my claim processed because they are “still looking” for him. I see him in the neighborhood and told them this. They said until they talk to him there is nothing they can do, that is policy. I went to http://www.mdinsurance.state.md.us/ and under consumer information you will find file a complaint. I filed and two days later I heard back. They are questioning MAIF regarding the issue with speaking to their policy holder since it is obvious that he is avoiding them and they have a police report stating that he was driving around drunk.

  • Ron Miller

    I appreciate the comments on this topic. If you are reading this and had any experience with the Maryland Autombile Insurance Fund (MAIF) that you wish to share, either positive or negative, please share your thoughts with a comment.

  • K. Tuttle

    My son was riding a motorcycle and was hit (broadside) by a totally uninsured motorist. She gave false insurance information to the officer that was at the scene. My son now has tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills (she was clearly at fault and was cited by the officer) and she will never pay a dime, and because she is such an upstanding citizen (that is acutely sarcastic) she isnt worth suing. She has a lengthy “small-time” criminal record – 2nd degree assault, robbery, etc. (and was in fact in court the day she hit my son! She was out on bail!) She’s been in and out of jail 3-4 times so far just this year.

    Apparently, though my son pays into the MAIF (as all of us law abiding citizens do) he cannot file a claim to recoup any of his extensive medical bills or the cost of his motorcycle, much less the time he has lost from work, because they DONT COVER motorcycle accidents!

    I have been scouring the internet for possible solutions (and came across this site) but have yet to see anything helpful.

    I work in law (tho not criminal), and know you cant get blood from a turnip, and suing someone with no assets and a bleak future isnt worth the cost of suing.

    Right now I’m contemplating a scathing letter to our lustrious Governor about leaving INSURED motorcyclists out in the cold, so to speak, when they are injured by uninsured idiots. Might bring some idealogical satisfaction, but that isnt what my son needs right now.

    If anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

  • Ron Miller

    I think you are wrong to think your son cannot recover. He might not be able to recover PIP but he has a UM case with a likely $20,000 limit. There may be other insurance available as well if he had a resident relative with a higher insurance policy.

  • Craig Silver

    I am seeking representation for an injury claim that will most likely be forced into litigation due to the “low ball” offer recently mentioned by the MAIF adjuster. Anyone wishing to assist or offer representation send an email to Craigsilver1@hotmail.com.

  • annonomous

    I am reluctant to give out personal details, not knowing as yet if this is a legitimate Blog and not a red herring for MAIF. I have a matter against MAIF and will be happy to share details after I am certain who I am communicating with. I too work in the legal field and like to think as bad and difficult as MAIF may be, they have not met me yet. I have a plan to bring them to their knees. Does Punitive damages & class action ring a bell? Holler Back

  • Ron Miller

    Believe me, I have been a vocal critic of many of MAIF’s adjusting practices. But I don’t consider them unethical. Their job is actually to pay as little as possible on third party claims. I’m trying to get as much as I possibly can for my clients so I don’t begrudge them this, it is a part of the adversary system. My complaint is that their practices waste time and money for us and THEM. I don’t think there is the basis for a class action or punitive damages against MAIF but I wish you all the luck in the world. – Ron

  • Cindy

    I too, have become a recent MAIF victim. I was involved in an accident on 5/6/08 at the fault of a MAIF insured driver. Within an hour I called MAIF to confirm the other driver in fact had a policy with them in “good standing.” I was not only assured that he did, but was also assigned a claims adjuster and a claim number during that phone call. The very next day I was contacted by the claims adjuster who advised she’d be handling this case and upon learning that I was already in possession of the accident report as well as copies of the citations issued to the MAIF insured driver, (just a perk as a Police Officer in the jurisdiction of which the accident occurred) she asked me to send her copies and I did. On the following day, a field adjuster came to my location, did a written estimate of my damages and left a copy with me. By dinner time the day after, now 3 days after the accident and clearly after the claim has begun it’s processing procedure, I’m contacted by the originally assigned claims adjuster who tells me I might want to advise my own insurance company of the damages because (and I quote) “We might not be covering this accident.” Upon further inquiry and much protest on my part, I learned that the driver had not paid his last policy premium and that MAIF in turn had not bothered to cancel him. This adjuster actually told me that they were most likely going to cancel his policy and that if they did, it would be retroactive prior to the accident involving my vehicle! I am now fighting with MAIF over this issue, as in my opinion they already began processing my claim before deciding they were going to cancel his policy. And by the way, as I mentioned my accident with this driver took place on 5/6/08….when MAIF cancelled him, it was made effictive as of 4/9/08! I have to wonder which of his family members is one of those fine MAIF employees I’m reading so much about??

  • Another Victim- this time in VA

    I was rear-ended by an MAIF insured driver and shoved into the vehicle in front of me on 6/8/08. The other driver was cited for the accident, as one would expect. Here I sit, with about $15K of vehicle damage and around $7K of medical bills– and growing. At least my own insurance company is handling some of this for me… for the price of my deductible.

    But who is going to compensate me for the 8+ days I’ve had to take off work, and the amount of pain and suffering that I’ve endured? I’ve been in enough pain from this accident that even with taking prescription pain drugs it was still nearly unbearable at times. I still can’t sit for more than 30 minutes without having pain, and I continuously have pain in one of my wrists. Since computer work is my livelihood, this also potentially affects me there possibly requiring additional time off of work for recovery.

    How much hope do I have of fair and reasonable compensation from MAIF?

  • Ron Miller

    It is impossible to be able to value your case based solely on the amount of your medical bills. We would not handle a case of this size in Virginia but if you call me at 800-553-8082. I will refer you to someone. But in a case like this with MAIF, you are going to struggle to get anywhere approaching fair value without filing a lawsuit.

  • erinn

    I guess I am joining a long list of those who have been hit by MAIF insured drivers, and are completely unsatisfied with how MAIF has handled the situation.

    My accident only occured 4 days ago, however I am already preparing to contact a lawyer. The MAIF insured driver failed to yield to the oncoming traffic I was in, and instead, pulled right into the front of my car. He admitted fault at the scene, and appologized for it!

    I contacted both my insurance company and MAIF, but as I only have liability, my insurance co. cant do much for me.

    I have gone out of my way to get every single bit of helpful info to the adjuster at MAIF, as I would like to deal with this in a timely fashion… yet, it takes them 3 days to even return my phone calls, I had to record my statement twice, as apparently the first time was not saved. They were supposed to call me when someone was going to look at my car, and did not. They stated that someone had gone to look at my car, however it is parked in front of my boyfriends work, and he faces the parking lot and did not once see anyone come to look at it…

    I guess I’ll see how it goes, but as I said, I’m already preparing to contact a lawyer, as my gut says they are going to try and screw me on this…

  • Joe Adlander

    I was driving my brother’s vehicle when U was struck by another car insured with State Farm almost 2 years ago. State Farm paid for my property damages, and then paid for my BI case after I submitted the related medical reports and bills. However, MAIF (my brother’s insurance carrier) refused to exhaust the $2500 limit for PIP benefits, despite submitting a $3600 medical bill for therapy. Of course, they say they audited the treatment and decided $800 was allowable. I went through the administrative appeal process to no avail. QUESTION: can I file suit in small claims against my brother’s insurance carrier (MAIF)? Do I even have standing since Im not the policy holder? Im thinking breach of contract, but I dont have a contract with them, my brother is the policyholder. We simply live in the same household. What type of suit should I bring?

  • Ron Miller

    It is hard to give specific advice in a case without knowing all of the facts and you should consult a lawyer. If you sue for less than $5,000 in Maryland, you can sue in small claims courts which means filling serving the defendant and showing up for trial.

    An element of a PIP claim is breach of contract because they contractually agreed to pay you for your medical bills from the accident that were fair, reasonable and causally related to the accident.

  • Cindy Owens

    Assisting a client now living in TX with a Judgment from 1976 for 10,000 against him, w/ Court Costs, no interest is listed. Now after paying 8,000 still owes 10,000 and prospect of everending is remote. MAIF did not give me much information. Any ideas.
    thanks

  • Nadine Strong

    Currently I am waiting for a response from a lady at MAIF regarding my claim for my minor son that was injured in a car accident with his father March 2011. Everytime I call her she never answers. What should I do? I really need this.

  • Luke

    I was rear ended by a MAIF insured driver on the beltway in August. I went to the adjuster and had the estimate for the damages two days after the collision. I asked to be paid a check rather than fix my car. I was told a check would be sent out within 30 days. I waited until the end of September and no check. I called the person who handled my claim and was told they didn’t have a copy of my regestration and they needed that to process the claim. I sent the requested info and waited two more weeks. When I did not receive a check I called back and was told the claim had not been sent to underwriting for review and was assured it would be handled. At the end of October I still had not been paid so I put my insurance agent on them. My agent has been calling them regularly to check on my claim which has still not been paid as of today. I’m hopeful I can be paid by Christmas. I was rear ended by a neglegent driver and liability is clear. why are they allowed to drag this out so long? Is there anything else I can do? I’d love to be compensated.

  • Lorrie

    I have close to 10K in medical bills and MAIF offered me less than 8K in both of theri offers. Who are they trying to kid here?

  • Jean Marie Neal

    My husband was a passenger in a car driven by the owner of a car service. He had contracted with her to provide transportation from the airport. She lost control of the car and my husband ended up with 5.5 days in hospital. Turns out she was using her personal car instead of a business car. She has MAIF on her business, they refuse to handle cause she was using personal car. Can they do this? Is the business insured or just the specific cars listed ?

  • Bettye C. Jones

    How is it legal for MAIF to exist? Why does the state allow motorists who have the worst driving records to be insured just to put them out there again to harm, kill & maim other people. In Feb. 2005, my nephew was injured with a fractured colar bone, fractured ribs, & multiple head wounds. My son, who was 37 yrs. old & had 2 daughters, 13 & 17 yrs old. He & the passenger in the back seat were both killed instantly by a MAIF insured driver who was high on PCP & alcohol & struck them at 87 mph. They were waiting to make a left turn when the PCP driver barrelled into them. Yes, we went to court & the driver was found guilty of vehicular manslaughter. He was sentenced to 12 yrs. in prison without parole. We
    still couldn ‘t sue MAIF. My lawyer said there is some “clause” or “fine print” that covers MAIF when it comes to suing. What is wrong with the state of MD? How do they get away with it? If the judge sentenced this man for 12 yrs. it proves he was guilty, yet we could not sue MAIF. All I can offer all of you is my story & my prayers to let you know that you are not alone. I’m still suffering from the pain of losing my son with no money to help raise his children.