On Dealing with Insurance Companies

I’ve spent a great deal of time dealing with our insurance company over the last ten months since The Fire, and more so in the last month since lodging an official complaint. It doesn’t look like we’ll be in our house within the year since we lost everything, and at this point lucky if we’ll be in before Christmas. We are tired, stressed and sad, yet we have to put on a brave face everyday in order to continue at least the appearance of normal for our child and our work.

In the last couple of weeks that’s become incredibly difficult and both of us have faltered, cracked and broken down. I thought nothing could be as bad as losing everything you owned, but dealing with an insurance company has proven otherwise. The process attaches the extremely raw emotional ties to something as important as ‘home’, to a beauracratic and uncaring behemoth in order to reach some kind of resolution. You can imagine the results are less than stellar. 
Here’s some of what I’ve learnt in the process:

You are not in control. Despite this being an intensely personal subject, decisions will be made for you, not by you. You will be disconnected from concepts like “home” and “normal” the more the claim drags on. Logic is not your friend, it is the path to despair. Conflict is the only way to achieve an outcome. Ask for everything in writing, if they won’t do it, there’s a problem you are not aware of. Ask for every document related to your claim, there are mistakes everywhere. Create a timeline and keep track of every interaction. Let nothing slide longer than a week. Set reminders and make demands. Cry and scream, do not try to bottle it up and put on a brave face. Everyone will understand your circumstances, except the insurance company.

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2 thoughts on “On Dealing with Insurance Companies

  1. Is there an industry with a greater conflict of interest than insurance (well maybe banking)? The less they pay out in claims, the more money they make. Hardly motivates good service.

    We operate our society almost purely on the consumer model, mitigation of risk is just another product bought and sold. This might be fine for a stolen television, but when you are talking about one’s home, or one’s health (health insurance), consumerism buts up against morality. When the insurance companies call all the shots (decide for themselves what they will and not pay, when and how) – what possible conflict of interests could arise?

    Thank-you for sharing your tips and experience Tim and speaking out about it. What is in writing is what counts it would seem, so keep them accountable.

    Consider the financial services ombudsmen if the experience continues to be unnecessarily protracted. External complaints are recorded and counted – again makes them accountable (i.e. which insurers had the most complaints?).

    Hope things improve Tim, and wish you well.

    • Thanks Damo! After writing this we got back our Internal Dispute Resolution report – doesn’t look like they want to admit fault or do anything about it. Looks like we’re headed to the Ombudsman to seek resolution. We’ve tried to do this in a reasonable and controlled manner, but after receiving that report I did lose it. Took a drive and did some primal scream therapy 🙂 so was better afterwards. I think we have a good case to make, and the insurance company have done themselves no favours forcing the issue down this path. Even their IDR report was 10 days overdue! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  2. Pingback: Years End | Heart | Soul | Machine

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