Thursday, April 19, 2007

Is It Really That Hard? Insurance

Alright, I'm going to try and keep this succinct, because every time I think about it, I get twitchy.

After my car was stolen and it took the insurance 5 weeks to get the car back to me (keeping in mind that it was recovered after only one), I was fed up. They raised our rates every 6 months, and I didn't feel like I was being treated like a valued customer. So we switched.

Our next-door neighbor recommended his guy. We talked to the guy and got a quote. He seemed nice enough; he even explained that he was salary and didn't make any money off our policies, so anything he recommended would only be in our best interest--not his. Plus the quote was a significant savings from our old insurance company, so we were all set!

There was one thing that bothered me, though. When discussing our rates, he made a point to remind us of all the things that could be counted against us when looking for new rates. They included:
  • My car being stolen
  • Keith getting hit (through no fault of his own)
  • Me getting into a fender-bender (through some fault of my own) over 4 years ago
He told us that NONE of these things should technically count against us when getting insurance. Insurance companies are legally required to ignore things that aren't your fault and accidents that are over 3 years old. But, he warned us, they'll consider it anyway.

Ummm, okay. Why tell me that? What the hell am I supposed to do about it?!? It just makes me feel helpless before The Man.

But we signed with him anyway, because it really was a great rate ..... then, a week later, we get the bill. And it's for $300 higher than what he'd quoted me.

I emailed him and asked what was going on. He said I was probably confused because the bill was for auto and home. I wasn't--the auto alone was $300 above the quote. He ignored me for a few days, then finally emailed back that there'd been a "miscommunication" about the quote ... but the good news is that we were still saving $133 from our old insurance.

I'm getting seriously pissed. I don't want to save $133. I want to save the $433 you promised me when I chose your insurance company. I say I don't think the client should be responsible for bearing the entire burden of his mistake, and ask him what he's going to do to fix it.

He goes on vacation for a week.

He got back on Tuesday. We needed to mail in our premium by today to make sure it wasn't late. I emailed him Tuesday morning and laid it all out: It's your mistake, your company should make up the difference between the quote and the actual cost. I understand it's a one-time deal, and our insurance would go up to the norm next time, but you should honor your quote.

I don't hear back. I email again Wednesday morning. And then I call and leave a message with both my work phone and cell phone.

8:30 Thursday morning, I call and leave another message with my contact numbers. Keep in mind--I'm calling his cell phone.

10:30 Thursday morning, I call his assistant and explain he's MIA, I want this resolved, and can she please give me the name and number of his supervisor so if I haven't heard back from him by the end of the day, I'll work my way up the chain of command.

I don't want to be doing this. I hate wasting my time and energy correcting other people's mistakes. In this instance--the insurance guy's mistake that he wasn't owning up to. But just because he was avoiding me, I wasn't going to just give up and pay him the money. What other choices did I have?

His assistant refuses to give me his supervisor's name--she says she doesn't know who that would be. But he's in today--she'll transfer me to his office number.

I leave yet another vaguely threatening message with my contact numbers.

An hour later ... Keith calls. The insurance guy CALLED KEITH. That's the lengths to which he'll go to avoid me. He told Keith his hands are tied--the company won't pay us the difference. But he magnanimously offered to send us the $50 commission he was making on our insurance, to make things right.

Keith pointed out to me that he'd originally told us he's solely salary--not commission-based at all. So where's this $50 coming from?

And that's how it ends. We have to pay the $300 above the quote, and he's giving us the commission he wasn't really making. And he refuses to talk to me. Would you have handled it any differently?


cat said...

Wow. I think I would have told him I'll take my business elsewhere. Sometimes men won't deal with women because they think women will get emotional or irrational. I priced out my insurance to several places (with 3 accidents reported that weren't my fault within 4 years; multiple speeding tickets since I started driving) and didn't see much difference. I also would have railed on customer service, because as a former CSA, I'm very demanding in that aspect.
They dropped the ball big time, and you should make them pay by looking elsewhere.

PJ said...

I'd make a call to the local Better Business Bureau about this company.

Todd said...

run away, far away. wait until you need to collect on your insurance for some'll be hell.

M. Lubbers said...

So everyone's all supportive ... and along comes Todd. The voice of reason. I hate to say that Todd's right, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I never actually have to use the insurance.