18 April 2019

Extortion

I don't know if it is the same in America, Canada, Australia, Germany or any other western country but here in England, insurance companies are engaged in widespread extortion. Let me explain.

You have paid for a year's house insurance. You have not made a claim and your circumstances have not changed. You are close to the end of the year and you receive a renewal notice from your chosen insurance company. You are somewhat taken aback because the new premium proposed is 25% higher than last year's premium. How can that possibly be right?

Many customers would simply trust their insurance company and pay the new premium. There's a degree of unwelcome hassle involved in complaining, querying or checking with other insurance providers. Living a busy life, it's easier just to pay up.

But that's wrong. My advice is to phone the insurance company and ask, "What's going on?". Why has my insurance gone up so much? Is there anything you can do to bring the premium down? Then you will no doubt hear a pattering of feet, you might be put on hold for a while and then the representative of the company will come back to you with a much reduced total figure. The whole thing is a despicable scam upon which the forces of government and the law should be clamping down.

At the end of March, our proposed annual  house insurance premium with The Halifax Bank had shot up by £35. Following a five minute call I got it down to a £12 increase - saving us £23 for exactly the same policy.

Yesterday, I received a renewal notice for my car insurance. The figure quoted was £65 higher than last year. I phoned the insurer up and managed to reduce the increase by £50. That's £50 in my pocket rather than the insurers' plentiful vaults. Once again, the policy is exactly the same as the one proposed. The only difference is the price.

When calling these sharks, it can be helpful to get yourself armed with an alternative quote from another company and to use this in fortifying your argument but often that doesn't seem necessary. It's as if the call centre operator's screen has flashed up this kind of message - "He has phoned up to  challenge the renewal figure so keep him waiting for five minutes and then reduce the figure using Formula A. Remember to make him think that we are doing him a big favour by saying - 'We can do this for you' etc.".

It all stinks like Grimsby Fish Market and I have little doubt that this widespread extortion by stealth is making insurance companies fatter and richer than ever before. Remember to phone them back and make a polite but firm challenge if you receive an overinflated renewal notice.

29 comments:

  1. Flim flam
    No integrity in business

    ReplyDelete
  2. I had a similar experience when my cable and internet service came up for renewal - my monthly fee jumped by $45 - one phonically and it was only a $12 increase and I got some extras for six months. You are very right about not being complacent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In a perverse way, it's comforting to learn that this underhand practice also happens in Canada.

      Delete
    2. This one particular Cable/Internet provider (who have a bit of a monopoly) are roundly hated by most of us!

      Delete
  3. Here in the U.S. it's not called extortion. It's just a rate increase. Our homeowners insurance (which we've had for 28 years with TWO claims total) increased by $78 in February. When I called our agent, I was told due to hurricane claims in Florida everyone's rates increased. I argued that Florida residents' insurance should increase, not ours, and got the old 'that's just the way it is' reply. I hate insurance companies, cable companies, phone companies, and anyone who sends me a bill!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What it is a guy called Bill Catrina? Bill Cosby? Bill Clinton?

      Delete
  4. On the subject of stones and rocks...which we were in your previous post....I think insurance companies, worldwide, are cast with the same stone!

    It's prudent for one to be vigilant, alert and read the very small print when it comes to insurance companies.

    ReplyDelete
  5. In the US insurance companies have to deal with the insurance commissioner in each state. But he is and elected official whose campaign was likely paid for by the insurance companies. It is officially condoned extortion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought that The Mafia had been rooted out in The States.

      Delete
  6. My car insurance went up 47% The Micro manager did some high pitched complaining. Usually like your case they would find some way of partial reduction. Not this time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have you been bumping into other folks' cars down at the supermarket?

      Delete
  7. Around here extortion and inflation are the same thing. Complaining, politely or not, does not seem to help. These days the world revolves around money and many of us are pushed to the edge because of that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe the "trick" I referred to is not as widespread over there in the D.S.T. (Divided States of Trump).

      Delete
  8. You can even play off two particular UK insurance companies against each other - the one with the bulldog and the one with the red phone - despite them both being under the same ownership and using exactly the same software and documents.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Correct Mr Dunham. That is exactly what I did with regard to the car insurance. Crazy!

      Delete
  9. My husband is a master of getting rates lowered. I imagine he's saved us thousands over the years doing this. I think he enjoys it. Not just the saving part, the talking part.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Insurance is a nightmare. I dealt with it in the states, but here, since we don't own our house, we don't even have insurance -- honestly if the whole place burned down we'd be able to replace what we need more cheaply than paying for insurance over a period of years. We just don't have much stuff, and most of our furniture we got used. (And no Clint, so that eliminates car insurance!)

    ReplyDelete
  11. The same has happened to me several times with several several companies for car,house and plumbing insurance. The premiums have doubled from one year to the next sometimes by hundreds of pounds. When I have then rung them to cancel my policy, suddenly they can offer me a premium at the old price. I have great delight in telling them to stick it where the sun don't shine. I then go on the comparison websites and get it much much cheaper. This needs to be investigated if it is happening on such a large scale.

    ReplyDelete
  12. We haven't had this problem here . . . yet . . . but now I will heed your warning. Good for you for getting those charges lowered.

    ReplyDelete
  13. All companies especially finance and insurance solely exist to churn out a profit, they come up with all sorts of legally permissible and sometime illegal practices to increase revenues. It shouldnt be the case but unfortunately it is so :))

    ReplyDelete
  14. Adrian, thanks you so much for your comment. I am back and getting well :)))

    ReplyDelete
  15. Two of my clients are insurance companies. I would not go for a contract with them, as I know how they work, how they treat their employees and their customers. But I fear the others aren't much better.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Reading this has just reminded me, I need to ring up about Toby's insurance, which they have decided to raise by £50 this year.

    ReplyDelete
  17. We recently missed our house and contents insurance renewal by accident. When we discovered our error and my husband went in to renew he was given a much lower quote for the next year's premium as it was treated as new business!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Yes, costs do seem to increase when the insured hasn't changed or made a claim and the same happened to us with our auto insurance. A call to ask "why? resulted in the rate being dropped down to what we had been paying. I suspect the same will happen when our renters insurance policy comes due as it's with the same company. Every year, I have a similar "discussion" with the satellite radio service we use in both our cars - it goes up, I call, and then I get offered a "better" rate which is lower than the previous one, but still a bit higher than the last year, which I would expect...slight increase is preferable to huge jump.
    Sadly, you have been spammed by Mumbai Escorts, which is happening to a lot of fellow bloggers. My advice is to mark it as spam. This makes the comment be deleted from your comments log vs. deleting it which shows that the comment has been deleted. I wrote about these unscrupulous spammers just recently after being spammed a dozen times overnight and mostly on earlier posts. I check comments on a daily basis and as necessary mark as spam immediately.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I have to have flood insurance, living where I do. In five years it had gone from $1500 to $3600. It's a national program, but you go through a private company. The agent at Farmer's insurance said, "Oh, I don't make any money on that, the government keeps raising it." So I cancelled and had no insurance for a year. Then I contacted a Farm Bureau insurance company. They said the basic rate is actually $1700, and said the agent had been raising the rates for her own profit. For three years now it has stayed at $1700. So yes, dishonesty abounds.

    ReplyDelete

Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

Most Visits