Jay Ajayi gets an insurance settlement, finally

Atlanta Falcons v Philadelphia Eagles
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Running back Jay Ajayi became a Pro Bowler in his second NFL season, generating 1,272 rushing yards with the Dolphins. A year later, he won a Super Bowl with the Eagles.

A year later, early in the final season of his rookie contract, Ajayi blew out his ACL.

He returned to the Eagles late in the 2019 season, playing in only three games. After that, his NFL career was over.

Three years later, the last bit of business regarding his NFL career has been resolved. He has received payment on his loss-of-value insurance policy.

Ajayi’s business manager, Joshua Sanchez, tells Ian Rapoport of NFL Media that “after years of discussions and fighting,” a settlement of Ajayi’s $5 million policy has been reached.

The term “settlement” implies that Ajayi didn’t get the full $5 million. Common sense suggests that he should have gotten every penny. He tore his ACL in the last year of his rookie deal, and he found no takers at all on the open market. Obviously, the torn ACL kept him from getting paid significant money to play the game.

But insurance is a far different game. The insurance industry’s only commodity is money. They love to harvest it in the form of premiums. They hate to pays it out in the form of benefits.

Most insurance policies are riddled with exceptions, exclusions, and conditions. When someone like Jay Ajayi shows up expecting to receive the $5 million in coverage that he purchased, the knee-jerk reaction is to jerk him around. Legitimately, but inevitably. Delay. Resist. Refuse. Make it difficult. Buy time. Hope that the customer eventually will take less than he deserves, years after he deserved to get it.

That’s how the business works. Insurance companies that stubbornly look for policy loopholes often save money — and far more often make money from having the money that eventually is paid in interest-bearing accounts while the customer waits for that which they purchased.

Ajayi should have gotten all of it, without having to fight. But that’s how it works. Athletes should keep that in mind before making the major investment on a loss-of-value policy, a far more fuzzy and ambiguous standard than the policies that pay benefits only in the event of a career-ending injury.

For NFL players, the best insurance comes from injury guarantees in player contracts. It’s another reason why players should always push to get paid by their current teams, once they’re eligible for second contracts. It’s also why players like Lamar Jackson should not be hesitating to take the team’s money, when the team is ready to give it to him.

11 responses to “Jay Ajayi gets an insurance settlement, finally

  1. “Obviously, the torn ACL kept him from getting paid significant money to play the game.”
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    I would argue his inability to play the game anymore at a high level was the reason he didnt get paid a significant sum of money, and the torn ACL was a contributing factor to his deteriorating ability. If he could play, dont you think someone would have signed him? If he could play at a high level, someone would have paid him a lot of money.

  2. Before he joined Philly there were rumors of a degenerative condition in his knee. If true that would adjust the situation dramatically.

  3. Either he needed to read the policy a little better first or hire a better attorney. Either way it sounds like it’s on Ajayi for not getting all of that policy money.

  4. Insurance is the worst. Their whole business model is collect your prepayment for service, and then refuse to provide the service when it’s needed.

    A few years ago, we had a major storm that left my roof with wind damage. The storm was well-documented and on the news. The insurance company had a flood of claims afterward from my town.

    Their default response was to claim my roof already was like that before the storm. Even after I produced before-and-after pictures, I ended up having to take a settlement because going to court over it would have been far more expensive.

  5. “But insurance is a far different game. The insurance industry’s only commodity is money. They love to harvest it in the form of premiums. They hate to pays it out in the form of benefits.”

    No truer words were ever spoken. BUT – it is so important to have the policy to fight about cause without it, he get’s bupkis.

  6. A very accurate summary of how the insurance industry operates. Good point as well about getting injry guarantees included in their contracts with the team – but that is not always possible – particularly in a situation where the injury occurs towards the end of an existing contract. All the more reason that Lamar J should grab the $$ from the Ravens yesterday. Hopefully, Mr. Ajayi received something close to his max payout.

  7. Regardless of what business enterprise you enter, you better have everything checked by your attorney. You will pay upfront, but you will make back what you spent and more over your ignorance and laziness.

  8. I’m not sure enough facts are in play in this article but I’ll also not admit not being sufficiently curious to read it a second time. If Jay A’s representation took a gamble on “inexpensive” insurance then the outcome isn’t a huge surprise. The bigger the premiums the more likely you/they are to actually reaping the touted pay-out. Otherwise not so much.

  9. Hope ajayi took all the money he could from the NFL, he’ll need it when his body breaks down

  10. My small business got destroyed by a tornado……
    The insurance company was squeezing every penny for loss of income. Had to hire a forensic accountant to look at the books and go to court. It cost me plenty but I didn’t care. It wasn’t about money anymore. It was principle.

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