27 May Insurance: Avoiding Companies Quick To Collect Premiums But Slow In Claims Payment
In fairness the refusal/inability of companies to honour financial obligations is not a problem unique to insurance companies. All organisations rightly focus more on generating revenue but some become reluctant when called upon to fulfil promises to their clients involving financial outlay.
I conducted an experiment recently involving my mobile phone provider. As my contract was nearing the end after a two-year period, I contacted them and as usual followed the steps as directed by the automated answering machine. Astonishingly, after waiting for 20 minutes to speak with a staff, I was disconnected. This happened twice so when I rang the third time, I went for the option that linked me to staff in the sales unit and was instantly connected to a staff. Of course when it became clear to the staff that I was not after a new contract I was transferred to the cancellation team and continued to wait.
Without exception all countries where insurance companies operate will have some unscrupulous operators who are no better than the ordinary con man on the street using dishonest methods to trick people into parting with money. Though I praised insurance companies in earlier posts, feedback I have received coupled with a few personal experiences have led me to accept that there are insurance companies operating today that the authorities need to monitor closely.
Even the so-called hub of insurance- London has its share of insurance companies that use specially trained staff backed by fancy TV advertisements and publications to persuade unsuspecting members of the public into parting with money in exchange for badly worded insurance contracts.
How To Spot Crooked Insurance Companies
We are all hungry for bargains and most are quick to run to comparison sites for quotes. These sites unfortunately rank quotes from insurance companies based on prices with the cheapest ranked topmost. As with most goods and services, the cheapest is not always the best. This is especially true for insurance because it involves pooling of funds with each insured expected to contribute to the pool, premium commensurate with the risk it presents.
So when the price (premium) appears too good to be true, please avoid. When an insurance company undercuts the competition by quoting ridiculously low premium, it follows that in the event of a claim, that company may not have sufficient fund to meet its obligation after making provision for overheads.
A great advantage of the internet is that people are able to post reviews of goods and services detailing their experiences. Reviews are also available online for companies with the customers rating services of companies. Most of us already read reviews for most goods and services before purchase and should therefore extend this practice.
I usually troll the web for as much customer review of a company as possible as some of these companies with the aid of their IT staff attempt to counter the negative reviews by posting fake reviews.
Akin to points highlighted about reviews above. The old-fashioned way of deciding whether to patronise a company offering a service is usually to ask for the opinion of friends and family. Often we extend the enquiry to professionals we have had dealings with and trust/value their advice.
Company Annual Report
For those comfortable with numbers, the traditional method of reviewing a company’s standing is the annual report which is a comprehensive report of the company’s activities for the preceding year.
With a few clicks these reports could be accessed on the web offering access to useful information like the balance sheet of the company, its profit and loss and cash flow statement as well as helpful notes to aid understanding of the financial statements.
Opting for legal cover extras
This is particularly useful when you need to pursue an uninsured loss. Insurers are more likely to honour a claim which falls within the purview of their policy if lodged through a solicitor because prolonging such claims cost them a lot more in legal fees if they eventually lose the case.
However if you find that you are no match for the might of insurance companies but must invest in insurance regardless, you may want to seek the services of an insurance broker.
By Ikenna Nwabueze