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Insurance Companies, So Flawed Yet So Profitable – I used to work for one!

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I’m a Chicago personal injury lawyer.  Most people in my line of work have grown a disdain, a hatred for insurance companies.

They are fed up with the way their deny, delay and defend ways of doing business.  Some would go as far to say that insurance companies are immoral, even wicked.  They’re not.  They’re flawed, deeply flawed.  Regardless, they make out like bandits.  I know from experience.

I have been a lawyer since 1995. For the first seven years of my career, I represented personal injury victims.  I enjoyed representing individuals.  Despite the ambulance chaser jokes, I was proud of what I did.  However, in 2002, I was offered a great opportunity – a management position with a major Chicago-based insurance company where I would essentially call the shots on cases that had million-dollar-plus exposure.  After much internal debate, for personal and professional reasons, I decided to take the job.  I believed I could handle claims for the insurance company in a way that did not cheat legitimate victims of negligence out of money.  I thought that in a way, I would still be helping people.

Working For The Insurance Company

It was my first day of work at my new job. I was driving to the office thinking that, with my help, this company could run like a well-oiled machine, a machine that treated negligence victims fairly and at the same time, didn’t have to raise insurance premiums for its policy holders. My newly formed unit called C.L.E.M. (Claims Legal Exposure Management) was going to help eliminate the waste that goes on in an insurance company’s claim department. Our motto, as expressed to me by the higher-ups who hired me, was something along the lines of:  If cases should be settled, for how much? And why not now?  If they should be tried, what do you need from us to be successful at trial?  It was an optimistic drive to work.

I arrived at my new office to find an essential office supply missing, a computer.

I figured I would head to the computer department and snag one myself. (Note: If you work or have worked for an insurance company or for corporate America, please hold your laughter. I didn’t know any better). I went to the computer department where I was informed that I would have to submit a requisition.  Of course, there was a multitude of people who had to be involved in this process so it would take a couple of weeks if all went according to plan.

I asked my new boss what I could do to be productive without a computer given that my job was practically paperless.  I probably could have sat in my office for a couple of weeks and sharpened pencils (yes – this is a reference to Sam Malone from Cheers when he went to work for the corporation).  However, I believe in a “good day’s work for a good day’s pay”.  He mentioned a trial in Philadelphia that I could go help out with. So I began booking the trip through the company’s travel department. My goal was to rent a room at the Best Western across from the courthouse. However, per company policy, I was not permitted to reserve the $99 room walking distance from my destination. Instead, the insurance company had a list of “approved” hotels I could stay at. The “approved” hotel eventually booked was quite a distance from the courthouse and it cost almost four times as much. Plus, I would have to rent a car to get from the hotel to court each day.

A couple of weeks after I returned from my trip, I had my computer and was ready to get cracking: I was ready to make a difference.

I received a list of cases to oversee. Most of these cases had exposure of many millions of dollars. The first thing I noticed was that these high exposure cases were not being handled by high exposure defense lawyers. In fact, most of them were being handled by quite the opposite. The attitude around the insurance company was “a lawyer is a lawyer.” My hands were tied in this regard. I had to deal with the lawyers originally assigned to these cases.  Most of them were assigned by an adjuster who liked the lawyer for purely personal reasons.  If I asked, “Why did you hire this lawyer?” the response was sometimes “Because I met him at the annual golf outing and he seemed like a nice guy.”  Yikes!

Most of these lawyers defending these high exposure cases didn’t put much of an emphasis on strategy.  Virtually none had an early exit settlement plan.  Instead, they took countless depositions, filed worthless motions and billed the file as much as they could. As trial approached, they would uniformly request a lot more money than they originally evaluated the case at, in an effort to avoid trial. The insurance company’s adjusters and analysts were of course afraid of the repercussions should a large verdict come in on a case that had their names on it. Therefore, they figured out a way to get enough authority from the higher-ups of the insurance company on the file to avoid possible unemployment. I was there to change this behavior…I think.

The first thing I would do on these large cases was set up a personal meeting between the folks working on the file, usually an adjuster, the adjuster’s supervisor or analyst, and a defense attorney. Trying to get an insurance adjuster out of his cubicle was no easy task, especially given the sheer volume of cases they handle.  They can’t afford a couple hours out of their cubes for personal meetings.  Most of the adjusters have never even met the attorneys they hired to handle these high-risk cases, other than maybe at the golf outings mentioned above. I made it a point to meet with these adjusters.  Maybe I’m old fashioned that way.

One of the first things I noticed when I met with insurance adjusters was the animosity that they held for insurance company management, at the time, me. It was understandable. For one, management would constantly make policy changes that hold back the adjusters from doing their jobs efficiently, and then scold them for being inefficient. “Fill out this form, then that form, and then we’re going to change the forms” was management’s way.  Initially, when I showed up at the typical branch insurance claims office, I felt like I was like showing up with a sign that said “I’m from home office.  I am here to work against you.  I am your enemy.  Do not trust that I am here to help you.”

The insurance company was full of people who were meant to work together, yet operated on completely different levels. There was an utter lack of cohesion between the moving parts of the operation. I soon realized that getting all the necessary people on the same page to more efficiently pay out legitimate claims in a timely matter, as well as defend the claims that should be defended, was going to be a Herculean task.

I spent the next year working on developing relationships with the adjusters within the company. This was no easy task. The adjusters don’t have much authority to do anything very substantial and most things need to go up several levels and through tons of red tape before their ideas are considered. Therefore, many of them sit back and let defense lawyers overwork and over-bill cases that should have been concluded long ago. Time usually works in favor of plaintiffs as serious injuries often get worse with time. Essentially insurance adjusters on big cases watch legal bills increase at the same time the value of the case increases. Many of the adjusters feel helpless in this regard and morale suffers.

I also spent a great deal of time with the defense lawyers who handled substantial cases for the insurance company.  Knowing that I had the power to give them more work (or possibly take work away), they were eager to wine and dine me.  But how do you convince a defense attorney who bills by the hour that he is better off moving cases quickly and efficiently? Why would he want to bring a case to conclusion in one year when he can work on it, and therefore bill on it, for three?

It often occurred to me that the big dogs that run insurance companies probably don’t care much about running the claims department efficiently. Maybe the claims department is too big of a problem and their attention is better off focused elsewhere like how to raise premiums and how to invest the company’s money wiser.

I had hoped to influence the insurance company by helping them realize they might be able to make more money by well, just being better.  It occurred to me that maybe being better was not necessarily the goal.  Insurance companies understand how effective it is when they, through their extremely well-funded lobbyists, get politicians to preach “tort reform” (though I prefer “tort deform”).  The lobbyists tell tales (and that’s what they are – tales) of “lawsuit abuse.”  Joe Q. Public is essentially brainwashed into thinking that people (and their lawyers) who file claims are responsible for their high insurance premiums, for the high cost of health care, for chasing doctors out of their states…  When things are going wrong for an insurance company, they ordinarily don’t need to become better.  They just need to raise premiums, influence the public with falsities and continue to make billions of dollars. What a business!

After putting in my time at the insurance company, I happily returned to my post as a Chicago personal injury lawyer where I will remain.  I had gained some inside knowledge on how the other side operates.  It’s not pretty but who am I to criticize?  For all of an insurance company’s flaws, they sure know how to make money.

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Illinois Injury Law Firm Practice Areas

Our Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You Navigate Your Injury Case

Willen’s Injury Law Offices’ Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers have varied and extensive experience with personal injury law, from both sides of the aisle, is a true asset for their clients. Our Chicago personal injury attorneys not only have years of litigation and negotiation experience working for victims of accidents or negligence, but they also have Matthew L. Willens’ background as a former insurance company executive. 

Additionally, another accident lawyer at the firm, David Baez, spent the first part of his career as a defense attorney who represented insurance companies. As the firm’s clients sometimes say, “It’s like they know the other side’s playbook!”

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Twenty-five years of success in personal injury and medical malpractice cases.


Voted “Best of the Best” in personal injury and medical malpractice law, year after year.


No fees unless we win, plus we advance all costs.


Available to speak with you 24/7. Can’t come to us? We’ll come to you for your free consultation.


We are dedicated to obtaining the best possible resolution for our clients.

Client Reviews

Willens Injury Law Offices was highly recommended by a friend. Upon my initial consultation, David was very friendly yet profesional. He was able to get a favorable result, I will definitely recommend him to my family and friends. Thank you!
Lucia R.
19:41 08 Apr 21
When I got into my accident in 2018, I was 18, I was scared and I didn’t know what to do. David worked with me and made sure I was taken care of all the way to the end. He fought for my case and made sure I got the settlement I deserved. Definitely will be recommending the Willens office to my friends and family .Thank you!!!!
Emmalee R.
19:51 23 Nov 20
I 100% back this firm. I was in an accident that caused me some injury that needed medical attention. I reached out to Willens Law Offices to assist since I noticed a large amount of overwhelmingly positive reviews. Believe all the positive ones!!This firm is very professional and helpful from the beginning to end. They look out for their clients, and do their best to achieve 100% client satisfaction. If you consult with them to help, you will not be unhappy at the end.I want to give a huge shoutout to David Baez who assisted my throughout the entire case. I highly recommend him and this firm.Please note, if you utilize them and don't hear back a lot during the case, don't be alarmed. They will reach out to you when the time is right. They are not neglecting you, they are working hard day in and day out to resolve your case.1 Million % recommended!!!!!
Michael R.
18:42 13 Jun 20
It's been over a year since I was involved in my car accident - everyone knows that is a very stressful time for the injured party. I considered going through the whole process on my own but I quickly realized the insurance company was NOT my friend. I reached out to Willens Law Offices, met Matt and the attorney that would be handling my claim, David Baez. David was excellent, I'm big on communication and anytime I texted David; sometimes ad nauseam, he would always respond quickly and professionally. I had a ton of questions, and David answered everyone of them to my satisfaction. I could not have asked for a better attorney to fight for me, I have extremely high expectations and they were exceeded consistently.
Edmond P.
15:33 28 Apr 20
Reliable, efficient, & informative. Personable yet professional, Willens office took care of my every last need & then some!!
Kyle M.
15:35 10 Apr 20
I got into a car accident a couple years back, I didn’t know what to do so I researched on Google then found Willens law office. At the time it was new to me but after they help me out, guided me, let me in the right path and I haven’t been happy here ever since because justice was served! Thank you Willens coming from the Herrera family
Jose H.
18:38 03 Apr 20
I had an accident injuries and based on google reviews I reached out to Willens Law Offices in Chicago. David Baez helped me with my case. He came to meet us and understood our case in detail and he guided me all the steps of the process. I had advices from friends that you are unnecessarily going after the process and nothing will happen. David made everything worthwhile and he gave right advice always which was right for my health and right for the case. He worked very hard on my case for 2 years collecting all the paperwork, talking to physicians and taking care of my case and making it in my favor. I was truly blessed by having David Baez handling my case who was extremely professional, great ethics and felt as my family with him. After the injuries and pain I was afraid to select one but my God made me select the right one. If anyone feel they need accident injuries lawyer then I will only recommend David Baez. Nobody will beat his hard work, professionalisms, ethics and perseverance and yet down to earth and honest. Thank you for everything you have done for me and blessings from my heart for his success.
Mamta S.
14:25 06 Mar 20
David A. Baez at Willens Law office has been fantastic to work with. Very professional, informative and responsive to all questions. Hopefully I don't get into another car accident but if so I will call the Willens Law Offices asap.
steve B.
17:33 10 Dec 19
The initial impressions I had of this place turned out to be false, and I am thankful that I am pursuing the case with Mr. Willens. He is pretty incredible at what he does.
Donald B.
08:05 27 Nov 19
I can only say good things about Mr. Willens. He was fantastic, Aside from his awesome expertise, he is very down to earth and make you feel like family! HE TRULY CARES! Always eager to help and make himself available at every point of time. Thank you Matt again for everything!
Arthur L.
10:27 25 Nov 19
Truly passionate about their clients. Professional and easy to work with.
Peter W.
11:01 22 Nov 19
I came across Willens Law Offices after searching endlessly for a law firm to represent me in my personal injury case. I was well accommodated and he made me feel at ease, you truly feel like he will go the extra mile for you from the moment you hand the case over to him until the very end. I highly recommend this firm to anyone looking for representation!
Edna S.
10:05 20 Nov 19
If I ever find myself needing another law firm I will not hesitate for a second to contact him!
Micheal E.
10:12 18 Nov 19
I was involved in a car accident and was having trouble getting compensated for the amount I felt I should get. I contacted Willens Law Offices through a referral, worked with David Baez and had a very good experience. They helped educate me on the process along with helping me get what I deserved. I would HIGHLY recommend contacting them if you are involved in an accident.
mohsin M.
19:38 15 Nov 19
His staff was always so nice and friendly and responded promptly if I ever had any questions. I'm very thankful to come across them and will highly recommend them!
Rodrick M.
10:04 15 Nov 19
I'm sending a special thanks to Matt for working patiently and closely with me regarding the status of my case till the end. I can't recommend him highly enough.
Randy D.
14:08 13 Nov 19
Throughout the process of the case, he did an exceptional job. The entire process was extremely smooth and the staff kept me up to date on the status of my case. I give him 5 stars as he is the best legal attorney there is in the greater Illinois area. He truly deserve it.
Regina B.
15:40 11 Nov 19
I just want to thank Mr. Willens for being extremely reliable and diligent. He was able to adequately answer all my questions and concerns. He settled my case rather quickly. I will definitely recommend him to friends and family.
Bernadette F.
15:43 08 Nov 19
I was involved in a bad accident with multiple cars and I was in a terrible shape. Matt Willens handled my case exceptionally. Everyone that helped was also great! he was detailed and clear in all our communication and he always made sure I was aware of everything that was going on throughout my whole case. Really helped me get through a rough time. I am 100% satisfied with the outcome of my case. If you need a good lawyer on your side, look no further!
Laura W.
14:49 06 Nov 19
Willens Law Office handled my accident and they were incredible! Matt drove all the way to see me and I could see he really cared. He handled my injury case from start to finish and I’m now rebuilding the part of my life that I lost. Thanks for your help.
Todd Z.
05:55 11 Oct 19
I was involved in an accident back in last year and was searching for an attorney who looked like I can trust. I found Matt Willens and I am thankful. I called him up just to get a feel for him as a person and I could tell right away that he truly cared, not only about me but my family too. To say that he fought for us would be an understatement. He was ready to go to trial! Luckily we settled and it was for more money than I imagined, especially after my initial talk with the insurance company. Thanks Matt!
Paula D.
13:14 10 Oct 19
Matt Willens went above and beyond for my case. I felt as though he cared more about me and my situation than he did himself and the time that he was required to spend on my case. I highly recommend using him.
Marci P.
13:24 03 Sep 19
It was great to work with this firm. They handled every piece of paperwork. David Baez handled my case. He kept me informed through the whole process and treated me like family. I highly recommend David and the entire firm.
John C.
14:42 16 Aug 19
Willens Law is a firm I trust in because they specialize in personal injury matters. I have had a wonderful experience with Matt WIllens personally and I can say he is pleasant to work with and communicates thoroughly with his clients. I would recommend Willens Law.
Grant V.
05:28 19 Jul 19
I’m rarely compelled to leave a review for anyone but I felt I needed to show my gratitude.From the first time I spoke with Matt Willens on the phone I actually felt like he was there for me, looking after my best interests and not his own. That’s rare in my experience.Matt is an absolute pro and I wouldn’t think to call or recommend anyone else if I or a loved one were injured in the future. Thanks Matt!
Kyle W.
04:16 19 Jul 19
When I first contacted Willens law office, I just wanted to make sure everyone was paid after I was rear ended and I wasn’t the one doing it. My correspondence was primarily with David, he was always patient when I was slow to get him information and ended up calling me with great news after almost a year of back and forth with the at-fault insurance company.I can’t thank David and the Willens law office enough.
Amanda H
18:36 14 Jun 19
Willens Law Office is GREAT! David handled my case. He made me feel like family. He explained everything in detail every step of the way. He fought to get the results that would best benefit me. David is a great attorney. Thanks David and the Willens Law Office family.
Michael S.
17:53 31 May 19
Willens Law came highly recommended after I was badly injured when hit by an out of control car. I in turn most highly recommend Willens Law based on my great experience over the past year and a half.I am very pleased with both the outcome of my case as well as the experience working with Matt Willens and David Baez throughout the process.I had no specific expectation regarding a case outcome, seeking only ‘the best outcome possible.’ I certainly believe my case outcome was a great outcome. And I strongly believe that outcome was a direct result of fantastic work done by Matt and David.From beginning to end Matt and David were great to work with. They did a great job setting expectations; explaining what was to happen, including the why and the how; guiding me through the steps I needed to take; and answering both my “need to know” and “just curious” questions. They were always extremely prompt and clear in their guidance and responses to me.A silver lining in a tough situation was working with Matt and David, both of whom I came to respect professionally and like personally. I do most highly recommend Willens Law to others who may need such services.
18:55 22 May 19
Willens Law Offices is simply the best!!! David handle my case , and was nothing but professional! He is the best at what he do!!!!!Every step of the way, I was informed of my case!!!Thanks again!!
cassandra J.
17:55 26 Mar 19
Great team, did me right, pleasurable experience.
Robert P.
03:34 21 Feb 19
David Baez was prompt and professional in answering all of my questions.
Richard D.
00:19 07 Feb 19
David Baez was very professional, helpful and always kept me informed about my case. David responded quickly to any questions I may of had. I highly recommend Willens Law Offices for any personal injury case. Thanks again David for all the great work you did.
21:39 06 Nov 18
After being in an Uber accident about a year ago, I reached out to Willens Law to assist me through the settlement process. I had the pleasure of working with David Baez. From the start he was very personable and professional. He was always willing to educate me on the process and made sure I understood each step before going forward. Even after receiving my settlement, David has been willing to assist with any questions related to my case. I would highly recommend Willens Law.
Madelyn D.
02:47 05 Oct 18
I reached out to Willens Law Offices following a car accident that my girlfriend and I were involved in, and we met with David Baez for an in-person consultation shortly after. David was very personable and knowledgeable, and gave us confidence and peace of mind in a situation where we felt initially felt completely overwhelmed. There were times when we felt the communication could have been more proactive, but David was always responsive when we felt the need to check-in, even if there were no significant updates on our case. The process took a little longer than anticipated, but David was honest, thorough, and professional throughout.Overall, great experience and I'd recommend to anyone in need. Thank you David!
Geoff B.
20:44 17 Sep 18
After I was injured, and after researching Chicago's best law firms, I found Willens Law and read their reviews. After meeting Matt, I retained their services, along with the special efforts of his Partner, David Baez.They handled my case in a professional, efficient manner, while keeping me regularly informed. We worked incredibly well together, and won a very nice settlement. You would be foolish not to consider Willens Law for your Counsel, as I did. I highly recommend them!Ed Dybas
Ed D.
21:26 07 Sep 18
We had a very positive experience and felt their representation was very effective.
Kent M.
22:43 29 Aug 18
Working with Willens Law was a pleasure. They were responsive and extremely pleasant whenever I had questions or concerns. In my case, I personally took a little longer than I should have to start the process on my end, but David was able to pickup on my delay and process my personal injury case in a timely manner. I would highly recommend Willens Law and David when looking for an attorney to represent you in a case.
Maggie O.
14:07 23 Jul 18
I had a tremendous experience with this law firm, and I would highly recommend them. I had a bicycle injury caused by a negligent Uber car, and when I was first doing research and calling law firms all over the Chicago area to find representation, Matt Willens himself returned my call personally within ten minutes. I found that to be a huge integrity move as every other firm I contacted had a lower level employee call me back. Nothing wrong with that per se, but to have the lawyer whose name is on the door personally return my call meant a hell of a lot to me and was ultimately why I decided to meet with them first.I made an appointment and met Mr. Willens and the fantastic young attorney David Baez in their offices and they were wonderful to deal with. They are down-to-earth, funny, intelligent, tenacious, capable, experienced lawyers who explained the entire process to me in a way I could understand and made me feel comfortable and confident, and we were off and running with my case.I work in a law firm and I know exactly how slowly the wheels of justice turn, and my case was settled in about half the time that these things normally take! Amazing results. Mr. Baez and his team were incredible throughout and kept me informed every step of the way, and negotiated a higher settlement number and a lower fee for the insurance company in the eleventh hour which meant more money in my pocket!! I wholeheartedly recommend this law firm for your personal injury case. They are highly skilled and I couldn't be happier. This organization is fantastic and they will produce results for you.
15:01 05 Jun 18
Matt has been there for us every step of the way. He, personally, has taken the time to answer all of our questions. We never feel like we are bothering him or pestering him. We have only experienced patience and professionalism from both Matt and his team.
Maribeth C.
15:45 03 May 18
David was very good at keeping me up to date with what was going on and helping with every step throughout the entire process. I could not have asked for better representation.
Jennifer B.
21:14 24 Apr 18
David Baez was an excellent representation of the Willens Law Office. He achieved my desired result along with keeping me updated during the entire process. Very fortunate to have him by my side - thank you David.
keith B.
19:29 20 Apr 18
Matt is an impressive attorney and person! Took on State Farm and won for me. Highly recommend Matt for PI cases.
Danielle B.
22:47 10 Apr 18
This Law firm has been very prompt and kind in dealing with my case. I would recommend this law firm to anyone who needs injury lawyers.
F Z.
22:45 10 Apr 18
I used Willens Law for a personal injury claim. Matt was knowledgeable and professional. He also responded quickly which I really appreciated. I would definitely recommend.
Robyn R.
21:44 29 Mar 18
After a bad auto accident, and months of rehab, Matt Willens and his staff worked with me as though they were part of my family. They were professional, courteous and looking out for my best interest during the entire legal process. I would highly recommend Willens Law Offices for any personal injury.
dan B.
19:27 25 Mar 18

What Types of Cases Can Personal Injury Lawyers Handle?

Injured in an Accident? Give Us a Call Today: (312)-957-4166

Do I Really Need a Personal Injury Attorney to Handle My Case?

You are not legally required to have a personal injury attorney to handle your injury claim. You could file all the necessary paperwork yourself and represent yourself in court. However, your chances of winning your case and getting the compensation you deserve are much higher if you hire an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Why You Shouldn't Settle Directly With An Insurance Company

Insurance providers will try to get you to settle quickly. In the midst of your crisis, they might offer you what seems like a large dollar amount. The problem is they rarely make an offer of settlement for the true full cost of your damages. Don’t be misled, hospital bills aren’t the only things for which you will need compensation. You also need to keep in mind the suffering and pain associated with your traumatic event. 

Personal Injury Resources

Illinois Personal Injury FAQs

The Chicago personal injury lawyers of Willens Injury Law Offices respond to frequently asked questions related to personal injury, car accidents, medical malpractice, and workers’

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